Saturday, July 31, 2010

Keep On Walking Forward

A couple of weeks ago I sat in a room that was over-flowing with people who had got together to fight for abortion rights. The meeting had been spectacularly well organised. When I came back to campus the week before, there was chalking advertising the meeting, and talking about the importance of abortion rights, all over campus. It didn’t rain that week – so awesome, strong messages were there for everyone to see (you can still see a bit of the chalking, in the door to the Kirk building, just under the overbridge).

To listen to dozens of people, mostly women, mostly younger than me, explain why they thought abortion rights were important, and why they were prepared to fight for them was not something I had ever experienced, or expected to experience.

I learned about our abortion law alone, in the Alexander Turnbull Library manuscripts reading room, with no. I couldn’t work for more than three quarters of an hour at a time looking through some of those files; I’d get so angry and upset I’d need a break. I once kicked the stone that said: This Building Was Opened By Rob Muldoon. My foot hurt, and I didn’t feel any better.

I felt alone. Most people I knew didn’t even know what the law was. I didn’t think I could do anything

I was wrong. Of course I was wrong. New Zealand’s abortion laws are outrageous, and of course there was heaps of passion about this injustice. There were always people who were prepared to fight the fight – it was just we all felt isolated, and had fifty three million other things to do, so nothing changed.

It appears that the Chris Trotter and Tammy X “abortion is kind of icky and won’t somebody think of the labour party” arguments won and Steve Chadwick’s bill will not be put in the ballot at the moment. Obviously I'm disappointed and disgusted.

But after the meeting we had – I know it doesn’t matter. We can educate, agitate and organise, until we’re strong enough to overpower MPs near pathological aversion to talking about abortion.

Whether next year or next decade, we will change abortion laws. We’re going to have honest laws that do not have unnecessary toll-gates in the way of women seeking for abortion.

And when we do I will look back on Monday the 19th of July as the night that I thought: “We’re gonna win.”


  1. Ken Orr - you don't get to post on my blog. I'm not giving you another platform.

  2. I was just wandering through blogger and I stumbled across your blog. I'm not here to be a troll, I just wanted to give you a different perspective on abortion.

    Now, I'm a man, and that might disqualify my opinion with some, but here me out.

    No matter the reason for the pregnancy, be it consensual sex, rape, or incest, abortion is forcing an innocent unborn human to die, to pay for the mistakes of adults.

    We can argue all day about whether a fetus has rights, but one thing is certain, it's human life by all scientific definition.

    Being pro-life isn't about taking rights away from women, it's about protecting and defending human lives that have no voice of their own.

    Sometimes, you need to put the shoe on the other foot. Imagine you're the unborn child, what would you want? Would you want the doctor to kill you before you saw the light of day, or would you want to live?

    I'm thankful every day my mother (who hadn't planned on having me) didn't abort me. Especially, since she's very pro-choice.

  3. "We can argue all day about whether a fetus has rights, but one thing is certain, it's human life by all scientific definition."

    No Im sorry your argument does not hold up. A featus does not have a developed brain. In hospital people who are brain dead or who cannot survive without machines are taken off life support and allowed to die.

    My own father had congestive heart failure. He was still compus mentus but was taken off the machine keeping him alive after which he died because they needed the bed and the machine. This to me was a crime as he was fully aware and was bullied into making the choice to be taken off the machine.

    A foetus has no awareness and I can tell you as a woman, sexism has affected my life to the point where I wish I hadn't been born at all. So why would I want to create another female hating creature who wants to use me as a birthing machine and unpaid slave.

    No thanks