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A woman's best friend

By Babette Francis - posted Wednesday, 18 July 2012

On 12 July 2012 The Drum Opinion (ABC online) published an article by Jane Gleeson-White titled "My womb is not terra nullius". Jane is an author with degrees in literature and economics. In her article Jane lauded the actions of a woman known as "Anonymous" who took photos of her own abortion and published them on the internet to show the world how safe and easy it was. Jane also praised Caitlin Moran, British broadcaster, who had an abortion after having two daughters and who claimed she had no regrets.

This was my rejoinder to these feminist outpourings, which I titled "A Woman's Best Friend":

I like the title of Jane Gleeson-White's article, "My womb is not terra nullius". Pregnancy imposes a "Mabo"-type decision - the womb is occupied and no one has a right to eject its primitive inhabitant any more than Europeans had a right to eject Aborigines because they regarded them as "primitive".


I wish "Anonymous" who took photos of her abortion had taken photos of her "product of conception" and displayed for all to see how the nurses examined this "product" to ensure it was complete with limbs, skull, spine etc. so that no part was retained and likely to cause a problem.

If only "Anonymous" and Jane would show us the ultrasounds of their not-terra-nullius wombs and its primitive inhabitants' beating hearts - like our non-primitive hearts.... But they are reluctant to view - or let us view - such pictures. Come on, Jane, let's see an ultrasound of your fetus - let us say "Goodbye", as we will not get to say "Hello".

Well the deeds are done and "Anonymous" and Jane have shown they are indeed masters (or is it "mistresses"?) of their wombs, uncontrolled by God, guys or the Government. But I would like to know what Caitlin Moran, who Jane quotes as calmly having two abortions after having two daughters, will tell these daughters about their missing sibling. Will she show them the photos taken by "Anonymous" and say "see? That's how 'calm' it was"? She can't keep secret from her daughters the disposal of their primitive sibling as this information is in the public domain. I am curious how they will react - polls in the USA show young people are more pro-life than the preceding generation - perhaps awareness of their missing siblings has influenced their views.

But the past is not another country - it affects the future. Studies in countries as different as Finland and California, show that women who have abortions are more likely to die in the years immediately following the abortions than women who give birth or were never pregnant. Accidents, suicide and homicide are potential causes of mortality.

And the studies linking abortion with breast cancer keep piling up even though our Cancer Councils prefer to look the other way. Here are four recent studies - from Turkey, China, the USA and Armenia:

1. Ozmen V, Ozcinar B, Karanlik H, Cabioglu N, Tukenmez M, et al. Breast cancer risk factors in Turkish women – a University Hospital based nested case control study. World J of Surg Oncol 2009;7:37. Available at:


2. Xing P, Li J, Jin F. A case-control study of reproductive factors associated with sub-types of breast cancer in Northeast China. Medical Oncology, e-publication online September2009. Available at:

3. Dolle J, Daling J, White E, Brinton L, Doody D, et al. Risk factors for triple-negative breast cancer in women under the age of 45 years. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev

2009;18(4)1157-1166. Available at:

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About the Author

Babette Francis, (BSc.Hons), mother of eight, is the National & Overseas Co-ordinator of Endeavour Forum Inc. an NGO with special consultative status with the Economic & Social Council of the UN. Mrs. Francis is the Australian representative of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer - She lived in India during the Partition of the sub-continent into India and Pakistan, a historical event that she believes was caused by the unwillingness of the Muslim leaders of that era to live in a secular democracy.

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