“Let’s Have More Abortions Without Regulation!”
“Let’s allow the killing of live babies after induced labour abortions!”
Think about it …
“What if they said ‘no’ when entering the operating room? In this instance I felt compelled to reassure them they didn’t have to go through with it and walked them back to the change room. I was reminded [by my colleagues] that this is a business and any slowing in the production line costs money. Their patronising remarks that some women will never be 100 percent sure, and that I should encourage them to go on and get the abortion over quickly, were not comforting. I could no longer participate.” – A former abortion clinic nurse
While abortions in Australia become increasingly accessible at later stages of pregnancy, the abortion industry remains unregulated. Add to the mix women with unplanned pregnancies who are inherently vulnerable and the abortion industry comes along with their number-one seller: a (supposedly) quick-fix, no strings attached, don’t ask about the risks (or ask to see the ultrasound images), no time to think of alternatives, u beaut solution! Buy now!
It’s a situation ripe for exploitation.
In 2008, the Victorian government passed new laws decriminalising abortion. Victoria now treats abortion like any other medical procedure up to 24 weeks. After 24 weeks a doctor can perform an abortion, having consulted with another doctor. That is, abortion is legal up to birth – without appropriate regulative measures or standards applied to the industry. The ACT decriminalised abortion in 2002 and Tasmania in 2001. In 1998 WA made abortions up to 20 weeks lawful and after that with the approval of a doctors’ panel – again, making abortions legal up to birth. SA and NT have also amended their laws.
Yet at the same time women in these communities are not being adequately warned about the risks, both medical and psychological. The abortion industry is mostly unregulated, unaccountable and unscrupulous – it is in its interest, not the interests of women, to deny them information relevant to their future health and wellbeing.
Here are some abortion industry truths you might be interested in.
It is understood that a major abortion provider in Melbourne offers staff incentives for the number of abortion clients they secure each month. There have also been a number of press reports of Medicare fraud committed by providers.
The ability of women to access non-directive, unbiased counselling, in what is essentially a for-profit and unaccountable industry, is extremely limited. Pregnancy ‘counselling’ by abortion clinics, along with some family planning and related agencies, has often been more concerned with perfunctory appearances than with the genuine needs of women. A referral is not required and many clinics offer a walk-in, walk-out same day service. This allows no opportunity to explore the patient’s needs and enable her to fully comprehend the nature of the procedure, potential risks and options.
Women are generally not well informed about the developmental stage of their unborn baby and are not allowed to view the pre-abortion ultrasound. Many women are surprised at how developed their unborn baby was, and had they been able to understand that the fetus they were carrying was in fact a baby (for example, via ultrasound), they might have made an alternative decision to abortion.
There is good anecdotal evidence to suggest that when women experience the negative consequences of abortion, providers are no longer interested in them and offer no follow up. There is no register to record adverse events.
Finally, some providers have been complicit in facilitating the coercion of others or applying coercion themselves.
If our current mechanisms do not adequately ensure that pregnant women are given the best possible care in a transparent and holistic way, then instead of rolling out an ineffective and inherently flawed system, we should be reworking it.
To Hell With Women’s Rights: Let’s decriminalise abortion in NSW and Queensland too!
“It was legal, but why didn’t they show [me] the fetal photographs and tell [me] the risks before the abortion? It was a late-term abortion and the baby was lying between [my] legs with no nurse answering [my] ring for help. It seemed like an eternity until the nurse arrived with a bedpan and placed [my] baby’s body in it and walked away. No one told [me] about this. After the procedure, at home, [I] passed the baby’s hand. Why had [I] not been told everything?” – A woman’s experience of late term abortion
Currently in NSW and Queensland abortion is considered a crime – providing a safeguard for women and their unborn babies. Although rare, occasionally prosecutions do take place, when it is necessary to uphold women’s rights.
In 2006 Dr Sood was found guilty of an unlawful abortion in NSW. Dr Sood was found not to have formed the requisite beliefs about necessity and proportionality for the abortion to be lawful because there was no communication between the doctor and the patient. Dr Sood was deregistered and received a non-custodial sentence.
Cases like that of Dr Sood mean that women’s rights are protected, and that they have an avenue of appeal in the justice system when those personal liberties are impinged. Women should have a right to decide what to do with their bodies – and their unborn children – and any system that takes protection of those rights away is confused at best.
However, The Greens are calling on both NSW and Queensland governments to introduce an abortion law reform bill to decriminalise abortion – removing protection of women’s rights.
Already, in September 2009, Queensland passed a bill to give greater legal protection to doctors performing drug-induced abortions.
What rights are at stake?
- Women’s rights to appropriate health care and information about that care – and legislation that upholds those rights.
- Women’s rights to make an informed choice about abortion.
- Women’s rights to alternatives to abortion.
- Women’s rights to be protected against an unscrupulous abortion industry.
There is a growing body of empirical and anecdotal evidence that suggests that women are suffering long-term negative physical and psychological consequences as a result of abortions. A significant number of women live on with debilitating guilt. Many cite a lack of information – in particular about the psychological impact of abortions and the developmental stage of their unborn child at the time of the abortion – as reasons for their regret.
With abortion providers responsible for this lack of information up-front – and lack of explanation of viable alternatives – then surely to decriminalise abortion and therefore increase the number of women interfacing with the abortion industry is not the answer!
Importantly, the legislation that is being proposed means that more women will be influenced to agree to late-term abortions (ie. in the last trimester of pregnancy). However, most medical professionals strongly advise against performing abortions after 20 weeks (ie. half way through the second trimester) as the risk of complications increases greatly. Risks in late term abortions include: hemorrhage, infection, perforation of the uterus, amniotic fluid embolus (when amniotic fluid enters the blood stream causing a blockage), laceration of the uterus or cervix as well as shock and, although rare, death. If there is cervical damage there is increased chance of miscarriage in future pregnancies.
Clearly the abortion industry is potentially very lucrative. It is therefore in the interests of abortion providers to not present all the facts up-front. This is a form of exploitation!
Yet the dangers inherent in abortions, particularly late term abortions, present enormous risks to women. If the abortion industry isn’t informing us properly now, then are they going to bother telling us when the law says it’s okay to just go ahead and do it?