In an opinion piece in the mainstream press today a columnist was discussing the issue of abortion in Australia. She sought to assure us that as an issue of debate it was not even on the radar, at least in the political arena, and only nut cases would dare to even raise the topic. Consider her words:
“Here in Australia it’s a non-issue (did anyone apart from the looniest independent candidate even mention abortion in the recent federal election?) that’s become even more of a non-issue with the overthrow of the Howard government.”
Several things can be said about this eerie remark. First, one might ask whether she is simply being descriptive here or in fact prescriptive. That is, is she just saying that this is the way things are – that no one cares about abortion – or is she saying that no one should care about abortion? One suspects that she is making both claims.
She appears to think that this is an issue that only fruit cakes are concerned about, and she also seems to think that it is not an issue worth talking about or being worked up about. Let me deal with the descriptive reality. Is abortion really an issue that no one cares about in Australia? Not so, according to a recent major study on the issue.
The 2005 volume, Give Women Choice: Australia Speaks On Abortion, by Selena Ewing and John Fleming presents quite a different picture. Based on 2004 statistics, it found, among other things, that 63 per cent of Australians either oppose or are not strongly supportive of abortion on demand. Moreover, 64 to 73 per cent of Australians thought that the abortion rate was too high in this country. And except for the “hard cases” of foetal abnormality or risk to the health of the mother, less than 1 in 4 Australians think abortion is morally justified.
Only 22 per cent of Australians think they are very well informed on the issue of abortion, and 71 per cent think there should be greater public discussion of the topic. So much for abortion being a non-issue. The truth is, ordinary Australians are in fact very much concerned about the subject of abortion.
Let me next discuss whether they should be so concerned. In tandem with that, it can be asked, is it true that people who talk about it and are concerned about it are simply loony, as the columnist suggests?
To answer these questions, a few preliminaries must be dealt with first. Despite all the denials by the pro-choice camp, abortion is about one thing and one thing only: the deliberate taking of an innocent human life. There is no denying that this is what abortion entails. Even pro-choice feminist Naomi Wolf can grudgingly admit to some of this: “The fetus represents a developing potential for human life and it’s a failure of some kind when that has to be terminated. It’s profoundly to be avoided if possible. The sooner we reintroduce some kind of moral rigour into left-wing politics, the better off we’ll all be.”
In abortion, a young member of the human race has his or her life snuffed out, often because it is an inconvenience to the mother, or it is “unwanted” or “unplanned”, or because others have pressured the mother to kill the baby.
While the circumstances of mothers should not be ignored or minimised, the sad truth is, abortion is simply baby killing. Now whenever an innocent human being is killed, I would have thought that all civilized people should be concerned, not just the loonies. The very basis of Western civilisation is respect for innocent human life and the defence of the rights of the vulnerable and defenceless.
So how can this columnist claim that only loonies want the issue raised in public? Everyone with a conscience, with a moral backbone, with a concern for humanity, should be concerned about, and raising, this issue. That fact that so few do may be more of an indication of how the mainstream media and our intellectual elites have managed to hijack this whole debate, and convince us that this is a procedure not unlike clipping one’s fingernails.
But given the monumental significance of this “procedure” – the loss of innocent human life – full disclosure should be the order of the day. Yet all this columnist can do is demonise those who think differently than her on this, and call them names.
Let us try her tactic on other pressing social issues of the day, and see how it works:
Here in Australia racism is a non-issue (did anyone apart from the looniest independent candidate even mention racism in the recent federal election?)
Here in Australia pollution is a non-issue (did anyone apart from the looniest independent candidate even mention pollution in the recent federal election?)
Here in Australia rape is a non-issue (did anyone apart from the looniest independent candidate even mention rape in the recent federal election?)
Most columnists would not get very far making those absurd sorts of claims. Yet that is just what this writer has done with the issue of abortion. She has sought to trivialise one of the most important issues of our day. With around 100,000 innocent babies being killed each year in Australia (and around 45 million killed each year throughout the world), this is a hugely significant issue, deserving of much more gravity and respect than our callous columnist would suggest.
The day any society starts to think that something like abortion is a non-issue, something which only loonies care about, is the day that society loses the right to call itself civilised. It has then descended fully into barbarism and darkness.