Attorney-General Vickie Chapman has presented her abortion-to-birth Bill to the South Australian Parliament. She is a Liberal. Premier Steven Marshal supports it. He supported her when she abolished the right to silently protest in the vicinity of abortion clinics two months ago and also her attempt to decriminalise prostitution last year. As Arts Minister, he introduced Drag Queen Story Time for kiddies at the State Library during the DreamBig children’s Arts festival in 2019 (it used to be called, less disingenuously perhaps, the “Come-Out” festival).
But the degenerate state of a formerly conservative political party is not my theme here.
The viciousness and zealotry with which this Bill bristles has awoken me from my incurious slumber about abortion. Like many men, I have kept my distance from the issue. But legislation of this kind does not permit me or any of us to do that any longer. I need to understand why abortion has been so enthusiastically embraced by so many women in the West, both as a personal choice and as a cardinal item of their political faith.
One of the most troubling features of that embrace is the seeming compulsion to celebrate abortion and proselytise on its behalf; it seems a long time since it was promoted, reluctantly, only as the last resort of desperate women whose physical safety must be protected in the procedure. Incessant references to ‘”backyards” and “coat-hangers”, I seem to recall, was how it got its foot in the door of people of conscience and goodwill. But now one can detect a scarcely concealed impulse on the part of its supporters to rub the faces of those who disagree with them in the blood and macerated organs which are the product of the particular medical procedure with which we are dealing. Feminists, full of a shrill and passionate intensity, now insist that there must be no limits to a woman’s entitlement to extinguish the nascent lives which only their bodies are capable of harbouring or nurturing. It is as if they must be seen to glory in the gore their “choice” entails. And that choice, they insist, must be unfettered by any hesitancy hitherto derived from instinct or fellow-feeling or religion; to admit of any kind of limitation to abortion, it seems, would weaken the resolve required of them early in their “struggle”, that which enabled them to keep mind and heart and ears and eyes turned away from the grisly reality.
In short, the ideological purity associated with abortion now entails a shamelessness about every aspect of its cruelty.
No woman has been prosecuted in the 51 years since abortion was made legal (upon certain conditions) in South Australia. The claim that this Bill has been introduced to keep pregnant women out of the courts is not only a lie, it is a lie told to cover other and more terrible lies. One of those lies is that there is any legal or medical integrity in the process by which abortion is authorised by the existing law. The truth is that we need to radically tighten up the existing laws rather than further degrade them. The existing law prescribes a process whereby two doctors are each required to examine the mother and conclude that it is more dangerous for her to give birth than to have her child to be aborted.
The law actually says that each of the doctors must in good faith come to such a conclusion. But that good faith has never been tested in a single instance of the hundreds of thousands of abortions that such doctors have authorised.
Here is the language the law uses to describe what these two doctors must in good faith agree upon:
……that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve greater risk to the life of the pregnant woman, or greater risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman, than if the pregnancy were terminated.
In other words, as long as the woman’s life is in less danger by aborting her child or so long as her physical or mental health is put at less risk by the child being aborted than by her giving birth then the child can be destroyed.
Think about this presently existing law for a moment. It permits an abortion to proceed in the case of a woman who merely claims that giving birth will cause her mental distress. It not only licenses the doctors to simply approve their patient’s own subjective self-exoneration for what she is about to do, it actually incites such an outcome. Even then, the bona fides of the doctors in giving their approval is never examined. Not once has such approval been tested in court.
And the law has operated as this kind of fix for half a century now and yet this has not been enough for these abortion fanatics.. Doctors know it is a fix. Women who serially abort their children know it. The many men who impregnate woman and who intend to eschew all responsibility for having done so, know it. That the approval process is a sham is a fact to which we can confidently assign the status of common knowledge in our society.
You will note that I describe a foetus as a child and an abortion as a killing but I have no difficulty in using other words — indeed, we can call an abortion a termination if you prefer; it makes no difference. What is actually being done in the specific medical procedure remains the same whatever words are used to describe it. The “product of a foetal death” is still the blood and tissue and bone and brain of a recognisable human being.
What I will not do though is participate in any of the ritual solemnities of tone that arise in discussions about why mothers abort their children, or use any euphemistic language on account of the alleged sensitivities of those mothers who have chosen to abort their children. No, this should never have been permitted to become a discussion that could only be conducted in hushed tones or authorised language, much less one in which men are not welcome to participate. That is what led us to safety access zones and secrecy provisions and suppression of speech. Aborting life is a serious business especially for the boys and girls whose lives are taken. Those who promote it must be prepared to justify it in free and open discourse.
Almost to a woman, those who abort their babies are not victims of rape.
Reported reason for termination of pregnancy, South Australia, 2017
Reason Number %
Mental health of woman 4,146 95.3
Congenital anomaly 177 4.1
Specified medical condition 23 0.5
Pre-existing psychiatric 3 0.1
Total 4,349 100.0
The claim that any significant number are rape victims is another outright lie. This time the lie is told to cover up the truth of the naked self-interest associated with the great majority of the decisions taken to abort a baby and the extent to which mere desire to avoid financial inconvenience and career-disruption are key to a great number of terminations.
Pregnancy obviously can and does arise from rape. In such cases any law must be applied undogmatically and in a manner which takes account of every relevant circumstance and exigency. That is how other laws have been applied by judges, in our inheritance at least, for generations. But the acuteness of the harm visited upon specific rape victims by their assailants can never be allowed to distort the content of laws that have a vastly broader incidence of operation and address a vastly wider set of moral imperatives. It should be unnecessary to say this. Our socio/political discussions used to begin at a point with each side safely assuming that the other side possessed the requisite dialectical integrity for that to be unnecessary. But that has long been impossible, I suppose, in a city where The Advertiser and ABC radio are the only mediums through which wide-reaching public discourse can ever be attempted; the unalloyed grubbiness of the one and the stultifying leftism of the other mean those days are long gone. The choice is no different in other capital cities, I am told.
Parliament is the only place left where honest and unfettered debate can be guaranteed. Its speech processes retain integrity, of course; it is the moral and intellectual grade of the people authorised to do the speaking that is the problem. But they are all we have. Their honest exercise of conscience is all that is standing between us and the implementation of an abortion law of unspeakable barbarity.
These are the critical elements of this new law:
1/ Up to 22 weeks of gestation a mother carrying a child can ask a single “health practitioner” to abort her baby. That person need not be a doctor. It could be a nurse. No medical justification for the request needs to be offered. “I want it –you do it-and the government will pay for it “: thus says the pregnant woman -who could be acting under duress or in any state of mind- and it will be done.
2/ After 22 weeks only a doctor can abort the baby but two doctors have to consider that it is “medically appropriate”. A mock gesture is made at defining that expression but it means and is intended to mean anything the doctors wishing to proceed to abort the baby want it to mean. After 22 weeks means any time after 22 weeks. A termination is defined as a termination of a pregnancy of course but a pregnancy itself is not defined. This is why the law is said to authorise an abortion to birth. When does a pregnancy become a birth? What marks the transition? It matters you see, doctor, because if you kill a child who has been born you have committed murder (infanticide). Who knows what event will be taken to mark that transition? Cutting of the umbilical cord? Well, doctor, just don’t cut it if you don’t want to risk a murder of charge ; macerate and crush and cut the tiny squealing body in the grasp of your forceps before the cord is cut, perhaps? What if, though, despite your efforts to kill it while it was in in the mother’s body, it emerges alive and kicking and breathing i.e “born” but deprived of the limbs or eyes or organs you hacked off or destroyed when you applied your vacuum-rotary blades to its womb-emerging extremities? What will you do then? Leave it draw its last convulsive breath alone and in agony in a metal dish when your patient has been wheeled away and the lights in the theatre have been switched off?
Now that we are in the hands of legislators who are taking their instructions from the self-elected spokeswomen of daemonic-wave feminism, what will be the answers to those questions?
3/ Unlike the existing law, doctors and nurses who refuse to have anything to do with this butchery will be obliged by this new law to find some other doctor or nurse to take their place. This is not hyperbole. It is the plain practical implication of the way in which the law has been drafted and I say this is its deliberate
4/ There are no criminal sanctions for disobeying the law, apart from doing something a part of the law says you are formally unqualified to do, because all the provisions are expunged from the Criminal Law Consolidation Act where our state criminal laws are codified and have been put in to some ancillary heath-regulating Act. Thus the legislature will signal -again deliberately- its contempt for whole matter of abortion.
5/ Chemists can supply abortifacients over the counter for women to self-abort up to 9 weeks in to their pregnancy.
I do not speak in defence of the feeble, disingenuous old Act that this one will replace. It needs straightening up and tightening up, but I want that to occur only in order to achieve purposes and reflect beliefs that are entirely foreign to Ms. Chapman’s Act and those who drafted it. For technical reasons that are now irrelevant the way the old Act operated was underpinned, too, by an obsolete notion of when life was self-sustaining outside of the womb. In 1969 it was 28 weeks. Today, with advances in medical care, that time is now about 22 weeks. So what is now being proposed that is that viable pre-born children are to be killed according to the wishes of the adults whose responsibility it is to protect these vulnerable human beings.
Some opponents of the Bill who like to imagine they are proceeding tactically and pragmatically consider that the most that can be achieved is to obtain a recognition in the new law of this new threshold. They think that it will be something that can be built on, though when and for what purpose is unclear. The ranks of these opponents of the bill who purport to counsel containment but who are in effect counselling appeasement of evil include, surprisingly, the erstwhile stout religious warriors of the Australian Christian Lobby.
They are profoundly mistaken in my opinion.
Opposition to this Bill must be uncompromising and total. Amending the old act may take time. We may need to marshall our forces for that campaign at a later date but we need to focus on the eliminating the wickedness manifesting itself before us now. We may fail in this battle but we will enlist many warriors for the ongoing struggle. Uncompromising opposition will draw folk to our cause. Our opposition must be spirited and robust and manly. The unnatural creatures who make up a significant number of the abortion fanatics who have planned and co-ordinated the presentation of this bill through their Emily’s List networks must be called out. Women who seek the abortion of their child as a remedy to their personal predicament must have humane and civilised alternatives made available to them, of course, but our appeal to them must be grounded on matters more fundamental than that. They must not destroy the life within them. They must accept that they cannot offer their own children as sacrifices for their own or their nation’s failings and mistakes.
Too much of the content of the anti-abortion message delivered by groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby is delivered in this anodyne and indirect vocabulary. Of course, they only picked up the responsibility to lead this battle when the churches, the establishment churches in particular, left the field. It is inexcusable, surely, that every Anglican and Catholic bishop in Adelaide has not been directed by their Archbishop to preach stridently against this Bill from now until Advent and if necessary through the Advent season .The same goes for the Orthodox. What can take priority as a homily topic over the slaughter of the innocent?
My expectations in this regard would have been unexceptional in any other age of the Church, given the brutality of this Bill. What accounts for this cowardice? I don’t expect anything from the Anglicans, of course; their leadership sold the pass long ago. But the Catholics and the Orthodox surely have within their congregants and priesthoods, (if not in their episcopate in the case of the Catholics) enough men and women who will demand that they speak up.
I have not referred to any esoteric notions herein about when life commences, whether it be at conception or at some other point. I don’t approach this matter primarily from a noetic let alone a theological point of view. For me it is a matter of fellow-feeling. I am a vegetarian and I despise the export of live animals for reasons that have their origin in the same part of my identity as my opposition to abortion, even though I would explicate those reasons very differently in the case of animals and human beings. I have this confidence for example that Shelley, a much beloved poet to me but someone with radically different ideas to mine about almost everything other than eating animals, would join with me in opposing this Bill if he were alive here in South Australia rather than buried in Rome because he knew that life is sacred.
What matters though is what we do about this Bill and not what we say about it.
Let’s get on with it.
Stuart Lindsay is a retired Federal Circuit Court Judge
 South Australian Abortion Reporting Committee Annual Report for the Year 2017, at page 6 [https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/1480e2d7-6822-45ab-a81d-3c35dd9e1d02/South+Australian+Abortion+Reporting+Committee+Report+2017.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-1480e2d7-6822-45ab-a81d-3c35dd9e1d02-niQVG4L]