Thursday, May 17, 2012

Good Idea - Bad Idea

Good Idea

Yesterday, the Southern DHB announced that it was going to start providing an abortion service in Invercargill.  Previously people from Southland who needed an abortion have had to travel to Christchurch (pre-earthquake) and Dunedin (since February 2011) to get them.* (Here's ALRANZ's supportive press release.)

One of the many things that is wrong with our current abortion law is that it makes centralised services necessary - which means women who don't live in the main centres have to expend extra money and time in order to get an abortion.  It's great (but not enough) that things have got a little better for Southland women.

Bad Idea

Yesterday, LifeChoice Victoria, LifeChoice Canterbury and Pro-Life Auckland launched a Right to Know campaign (there are not enough sarcastic quote marks in the world to properly communicate just imagine two sets for pretty much every word).  They distributed leaflets that lied about abortion in all the major lectures theatres at at least two (and probably three universities).**  You can read the full text on their website.  Campus Feminist Collective in Auckland have started planning their response

My favourite quote demonstrates the hideous double-speak of incrementalism: "Women should be trusted with all of the available facts, and then allowed the freedom and space to make a properly informed decision."  By 'facts' they mean 'inaccurate bullshit we like' and by 'freedom and space to make a properly informed decision' they mean 'make all women wait longer than they need to get an abortion through a cooling off period.'

The reason that this double-speak has any chance of working (and I hope it doesn't work - the person I was sitting next to thought the leaflets were prochoice - because they hadn't read the leaflet only looked at hte headings) is because the politics of abortion aren't particularly clear in this country.  Even people who are reasonably pro-choice can buy into a discourse which portrays abortion as the ethically murky thing that we shouldn't talk about, if that's the only discourse abortion they ever hear.  We need to be the ones that champion the ability of pregnant people to make their own decisions - so that everyone will see this for the patronising claptrap that it is.

* Talking of which does anyone know what the current situation is for people who need abortions from the West Coast?  They used to have to travel to Christchurch, but that clinic was damaged in the earthquake - do they now have to travel to Dunedin or Nelson?

** They're well-funded - these were glossy properly printed leaflets that were three to an 3 page - and they would have had thousands of them to do all those lecture theatres.

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