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Excluding abortion protestors is a matter of dignity


Moral boundaries can be hard to navigate in the public sphere, especially in western secular democracies. How do we live with people who use a different compass and have other priorities? How do we bring to bear our sense of right or wrong on policy and discourse? What is considered persuasive amid a multiplicity of values?

Fertility Control Clinic in East MelbourneCertain groups, identifiably Christian, have responded to these questions by picketing certain clinics attended by women seeking an abortion. Their targets receive such actions as hostile and intimidating. It is an odd way to prosecute an argument, and to draw any satisfaction from that effect seems to give away a kind of malice.

Last Friday, the Victorian parliament passed an amendment to the Public Health and Wellbeing Act to establish a 150-metre protest-free zone around abortion clinics. It is now illegal for pro-life activists to accost women going in and out of these medical facilities.

On the same weekend, a man shot three people to death and injured nine others at a Planned Parenthood building in the United States. Witnesses believe the Colorado attack was motivated by opposition to abortion, with the gunman saying 'no more baby parts'.

The incident adds to a considerable list of threats, murders, bombings, trespass and vandalism that have taken place at abortion providers since the US Supreme Court decision on Roe vs Wade.

Australia has seen a bit of this violence. In 2001, a man brought 16 litres of kerosene to a Melbourne clinic, intending to burn all 15 staff and 26 patients to death. He killed a security guard. In 2009, a Mosman Park (WA) clinic was firebombed by individuals who believed that it facilitates abortion.

There is an obvious inconsistency in being pro-life while being destructive and murderous.

I need to assert at this point that I believe that life begins at conception. I find it impossible to reconcile with the idea that personhood in utero depends on whether a baby is wanted or unwanted. Human dignity cannot be so arbitrary; it loses meaning otherwise.

But I also believe that bodily autonomy is integral to the dignity of women. There is too long a history to outline within this space how women have been deprived of agency across several dimensions: political, economic, social, sexual and cultural. Against such a backdrop, being able to make a choice carries its own compelling morality.

It is possible to carry both these beliefs simultaneously. More than one feminist has spoken to me about abortion not being a choice that they would make themselves, but would fight for others to have as a safe, legal option.

This is not casual relativism, but a flint-eyed awareness that the alternative would lead back to the scale of physical damage, mental trauma and lingering death seen by previous generations of women. It is a view that can sometimes be traced to a relationship with someone who has had an abortion and loving them no less. It is also a view bolstered by the law.

The public contours of our moralities are shaped by these laws. It is the only way that tensions between values can be held within populations without compromising safety and order. The way we prosecute our values is limited for a reason. We still have to live together even when we find it unbearable.

Debates around abortion rouse strong passions; that is how it should be. At the same time, I know that there are spaces in people's lives that I cannot enter, things that are not for me to touch. All I know to do is tread lightly.


Fatima Measham

Fatima Measham is a Eureka Street consulting editor. She tweets @foomeister .

Topic tags: Fatima Measham, abortion



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Existing comments

"But I also believe that bodily autonomy is integral to the dignity of women." Clearly not. Because you believe it should be legal, and unobjectionable by bystanders to the point of criminal prosecution, that unborn women have their bodies dismembered.

HH | 03 December 2015  

Thanks for your thoughts Fatima. Here's the crux of the issue for Christians and abortion. We believe that a divine being - the Son of God - started life on earth in a woman's womb. That one article of belief colours the whole abortion issue for us. What if the unseen, hidden, microscopic life of Jesus had been aborted? We're told that we are each, just as precious in the eyes of God, as His son Jesus - so leading to the fervour with which many Christians reject abortion. I understand that without this belief, you see only a woman walking past to have a 'medical procedure', but others like me, know that a second life is passing them by, and that perhaps this moment is that unborn person's last chance to 'make it' here on earth. Finally the violence at an abortion clinic is of course indefensible, but so too is Planned Parenthood's profiteering through the sale of aborted fetus' body parts.

Cathy | 03 December 2015  

Can one know quite categorically that the Holy Spirit will never seek to convict the woman walking into the abortion facility through the voice and presence of one of the picketers? If not, the picketers are akin to a last minute intervention by a US state governor in the execution of a convict. Most times a governor doesn't intervene and most times a picket might not save the baby, but where to a secularist a moving on of the picket is a dignity issue, for a Christian it may be denying the Spirit a channel through which to work. Yes, Christians may sometimes yield space in the public square (such as not ringing church bells on a Sunday morning because non-worshippers need their sleep) but each situation needs to be taken on its merits and few situations involve exposing a voiceless being with a nervous system to un- anaesthetised trauma and death. Perhaps by this yardstick, abortion is different from other issues of public debate and the feelings of those women walking into or out of the abortion facility should be discounted a little.

Roy Chen Yee | 03 December 2015  

Whose interest and what cause does this opinion piece really defend - the right to life of the unborn or the autonomous choice of women? Velvet relativism cannot advance the defence of the voiceless innocent, and the actions of misguided extremists are no grounds for associative demonising of those who seek to protect the inviolable dignity of the unborn.

John | 04 December 2015  

Congratulations Fatima on an excellent article and congratulations Eureka Street for publishing it - in a catholic journal.

Jim Jones | 04 December 2015  

Thank you Fatima for your thoughtful nuanced article. I also believe" it is possible to hold both beliefs simultaneously. "

Monica Phelan | 04 December 2015  

Thou shalt not kill should apply to everyone, everywhere

PHIL | 04 December 2015  

Heartfelt words, Fatima. Well written. Abortion is an emotive subject. I believe mother and child are one until the child is capable of independent life. This means a great responsibility for, and towards, the mother. Infringing on her dignity, as protesters at abortion clinics do, reduces her to an 'issue'. Much better, surely, to offer support and counsel, via less intrusive means, to a woman making a difficult decision.

Pam | 04 December 2015  

Fatima, You are the first person I have ever come across in my long life who concedes that life begins at conception but still finds abortion morally acceptable. I have always thought that, if people could be convinced that life began at conception, abortions would stop. As a teacher I made sure that my students, mostly young males in senior classes, heard both sides of the abortion debate. Strangely it was the pro-abortion speakers who seemed to indirectly present the stronger argument in favour of Catholic teaching, without meaning to, of course. What always struck me was the utter sincerity of the women on either side of the debate. That was another point that some of the boys made to me, . Despite my apparent naivete about the black-,white link between conception and abortion, I have long realised the complexity of this issue. I know many good people on both sides of the argument. Your thinking has now exposed , at least to me, another strand of this difficult topic. Thank you. Abortion may be one of those subjects about which well intentioned people will always disagree. May the God Lord help us all.

grebo | 04 December 2015  

A timely article Fatima. Well done.

Ellen O'Brien | 04 December 2015  

'Picket'? I take it that you have never attended a prayer vigil outside a clinic. Offering assistance to a woman to help her with her baby may well be seen as intimidating behaviour, but it is not. Lovers of life, love all life, not just the lives of the innocent. Fatima, why not write about the "Truth" and refuse to use the language of the "culture of Death". I invite you to attend a prayer vigil, be the face of love, and offer hope to a person in desperate need of it.

Chris Howard | 04 December 2015  

Thank you treading lightly, I found your article very helpful and sensitive. There is so much yelling around this and other issues that the quiet thoughtful and reflective voices can be lost.

Dave | 04 December 2015  

You have trodden delicately and carefully in the minefield of opinion on abortion Fatima; and in my view have said nothing to offend either pro or anti abortionists, whilst at the same time stating your own position [which happens to be mine also] clearly, and protecting the dignity of all women. Congratulations on a reasoned, compassionate and objective piece!

pirrial | 04 December 2015  

The author believes “life begins at conception”. This accords with the science of embryology. What then justifies abortion? Her answer seems to be “bodily autonomy is integral to the dignity of women.” Democratic pluralism requires vigorous but civil debate in order to survive. People should not be quiet about serious moral issues, for the toleration of evil is itself a form of evil. Evil will preach tolerance until it is dominant, and then it will try to silence the good. This is now happening throughout Western societies where an increasing intolerance is shown by ‘progressives’ for anyone opposed to their radical agendas. The Victorian government that enacted a protest-free zone around abortion clinics, is the same government that decriminalized abortion in 2008. It defeated amendments which reasonably sought protection for medical practitioners and nurses who have conscientious objections, and an amendment to make partial-birth abortions illegal. Victorian government figures showed that one year 52 babies survived late-term abortions but were simply put on a shelf to cry until they died. This same government’s leader now says that we have to accept that violent extremism is part of contemporary Australia. Is this where the misguided quest for dignity is leading?

Ross Howard | 04 December 2015  

Have you ever been to a pro-life prayer vigil outside an abortion clinic? They are nothing like what you seem to be saying they are, and the people involved are not radicals. In all walks of life there are 'extreme' elements - such as the individuals using violence against abortion providing facilities. But the people who pray outside clinics are mostly elderly, gentle, prayerful people. You fail to mention the violence that they often face. Only recently in Albury an elderly man was assaulted for praying. I think you need to go and witness what happens at a prayer vigil before you can say that the people there "accost" women going in and out of the facility.

Matthew | 04 December 2015  

I respect the need for people to be able to access these services unimpeded, but I do have an issue with characterising all kinds of protests that might occur outside abortion clinics as 'hostile and intimidating'. There must be a way to hold a vigil that respects and dignifies all of the people involved, but also places in front of people in a compassionate way that there is another pro-life choice available and support for them to make that choice if they want to. To put respectful pro-life advocates in the same basket as mass murderers is to cede the entire argument to its most extremist elements. That's something I don't think anyone would want.

Michael McVeigh | 04 December 2015  

Wise and compassionate, thank you Fatima, best I've read on a sad topic. Nobody has an abortion for fun. To the prayer vigil people, where are you at 2am with a vomiting child, where are you in the struggle with the teenage condition? If you really were there to help, there would be no abortions. Words so easy, roll up your sleeves help very hard and ongoing. (Widowed with children aged 2 and 5 - turned out pretty well, thank God)

Jane | 04 December 2015  

So how do we begin to have a respectful conversation about abortion? Perhaps it is all too hard, too messy, too confronting; so let’s keep quiet; no protesting, please. But the essence of protest is to make us uncomfortable, and while some take this too far, it is vital that we do not allow the bullying of religious fanatics and moralists to justify a “we cannot afford to go there” approach, to justify shutting down debate. Surely, in a world where whales and rabbits and old trees and heritage buildings are treated as precious, as of significant value – and rightly so, there is room for a mainstream and adult conversation about those other precious creatures, the unborn; tens of thousands of whom disappear without trace each year, some who are beyond four months in gestation - not to mention the targeting of those with Down Syndrome and other disabilities. I am not in any way suggesting another unseemly finger-pointing exercise, nor am I advocating criminalisation. Indeed, compassion compels one to want to walk alongside a woman confronting such a choice, even to cry with her. What I am advocating is a robust and reasoned public conversation. Perhaps such a conversation might begin with a question: “What does it mean to be human?” For now, at least, we seem to be mired in more of that globalised indifference which insists upon silence.

Peter Day | 04 December 2015  

Fatima, the people who pray outside abortion clinics do that, just pray. Just like you do not judge all Muslims by lone wolf attacks, please do not judge all pro life helpers by individually mentally unbalanced people. And did you know there is a steady rate of violence against pro lifers that is not reported in the media? https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/media-repeatedly-ignores-violent-attacks-against-pro-lifers-but-lots-of-tom The more than 400 children saved by the quiet helpers who offer - never push - advice to women approaching clinics no doubt are grateful for their lives as are the women who changed their minds at the 11th hour. Quiet prayerful help at a chamber of death, whether an execution of an abortion clinic, has always been part of the Catholic tradition. The helpers show nothing but love for the mother in her situation of need. In Sydney the Helpers have saved well over 1,000 lives. Would you have preferred the Helpers not to have been there? Not one mother regretted changing her mind - but would not have done so without visible evidence of prayerful people offering an alternative near the clinic.

Alice Larkin | 04 December 2015  

Peter Day asks, "So how do we begin to have a respectful conversation about abortion?" I believe Fatima has written an excellent example of how such conversation can be conducted. Acknowledging the conflicting moral claims, she presented her understanding and present position, to arrive at her conclusion. I am glad Fatima confronted the question of moral relativism - a potential pitfall in any conversation about conflicting moral perspectives. What alternative approach makes a better fit in our secular pluralist society?

Ian Fraser | 04 December 2015  

Violence begets violence. In defending against violence, actions must be proportional to the acts occurring. This is a disappointing article because it appears to justify the killing of the unborn whilst acknowledging that human life begins at conception. Whilst it is imperative that those praying or protesting outside abortion clinics conduct themselves in a non-violent manner, it is also imperative that appropriate actions are taken and allowed to be taken to protect the lives of the innocent unborn. To achieve a fair and just balance on what is such an ethical divide in our community is a challenge. It is a life or death issue.

Kevin | 04 December 2015  

A thoughtful piece of writing. Well done, Fatima.

Brendan McCarthy | 04 December 2015  

Thank you for such a well reasoned article. The conflict of public and private morality will always be a source of tension. History has shown the times when individuals force their private morality on the public have not been wonderful.

Danny Higgins | 04 December 2015  

I think the debate over the right to life (of the unborn) versus the right to dignity, autonomy, privacy etc. of the mother, is not one which should be conducted in the area immediately outside the doors of abortion clinics. So whilst I personally disagree with abortion on moral and religious grounds, I agree in principle with the legislation of the Victorian parliament. If I'm understanding it correctly, protest and prayer vigils are not being outlawed per se. Instead, in the context of shared public space, their proximity to persons operating within existing laws is simply being managed - similar to opposition protest in front of a foreign embassy for example. In a democratic country like ours, I think there needs to be some protection of such space for those who are conducting themselves legally, balanced with the right of others to public expressions of dissenting opinions and dissuasion. The classifying of abortion by some opponents to it as 'a special case', separating it on moral principle from other sorts of enabling legislation, ultimately can invite vigilantism, and opens the door to the circumvention of the democratic process for other subjective, well intentioned reasons.

Rashid.M | 04 December 2015  

A good article - if only everyone had Fatima's good manners. This stopped me: "I believe that life begins at conception. I find it impossible to reconcile with the idea that personhood in utero depends on whether a baby is wanted or unwanted." I assumed everyone thought that life began at conception. But not personhood - that develops.

Russell | 04 December 2015  

Dear Fatima, The issue is 'Should women be free to choose (and access) abortion on the one hand, and should others be free to (peacefully) seek to get them to change their minds up to the time they enter the clinic?' If women only ever made considered, committed and free choices for abortion (however reluctantly), one may assume none would ever have, for whatever reason, a last minute change of heart. However, there are both many anecdotal accounts of last minute changes changes of heart, and many more anecdotal accounts of enduring regrets following abortion. Those who are 'committed' may be beyond influence, but those in a state of conflict may be open to a change of heart up to the last minute. The Australian College of Obstetricians estimates there are over 80,000 terminations of pregnancy performed annually in Australia. We need to work on reducing this number by all reasonable and compassionate means

Paul Burt | 04 December 2015  

Thank you Fatima for a very truthful and compassionate article about abortion. Much of what I would like to say has been very well expressed by others. I would like to make a comment about those who feel that praying outside abortion clinics is somehow peaceful and, dare I say it, good. In my mind prayer, at least as taught by Jesus was not to be a political event. Prayer was between the person praying and God. In the cases mentioned above this is not the case. This, it seems to me, degrades prayer and simply turns it into something much less than it ought to be. If these people believe that prayer is so good and useful then I suggest they do it quietly and privately. If not then prayer becomes not actually prayer but is simply being used for a political purpose. Praying in this case devalues prayer and all that it should mean.

Tom Kingston | 04 December 2015  

Thank you Fatima. Your sensitivity and the clear logic of your argument is compelling. I agree with you that the primacy of conscience makes such decisions very personal, very lonely, and very difficult. Respect for those making them is paramount. I enjoy your regular contributions very much.

Jim Slingsby | 04 December 2015  

The fact that an embryo can be frozen indefinitely would seem to challenge notions of life/soul beginning at this early stage.

Jacinta | 04 December 2015  

So well-articulated Fatima. I share the same unease in balancing women's right to autonomy and the value of human life in utero, and you have very sanely navigated a path deserving much reflection.

Helen Halpin | 04 December 2015  

It’s always educative and refreshing to learn how another person thinks about controversial subjects when you sense they have spent some time, like Fatima, working things out for themselves and can articulate things without shouting. I note Russell’s distinction between “life” and “personhood” although I wonder if Russell is referring to “personality” which certainly develops as a result of psychological self-awareness, relational capacity and habitude, whereas “personhood” as Fatima used the term may have meant something akin to the notion of ‘individual worth’ that derives from being a unique entity and I think it is this which is the true root principle of any doctrine of “sacredness of human life”. In that sense, it is not life (bios) as such that is sacred, but the individual whom we can know and touch and love. For this reason, those opposing abortions seem to me to mischaracterise the issue: few people seem really pro-life or anti-life in the absolute way the latter often proclaim – the point of difference lies in the dispute whether the unborn have equivalent or greater claim on our moral obligation than sentient, self-aware individuals, and/or whether the embryo at day 1 has the same claim as the foetus at 7 months or the mother. We wouldn’t be having this dispute if there wasn’t a real slippery slope, but adopting an all-or-nothing approach in either direction is to deny there is one. My final comment relates to the “praying” outside clinics, which Tom Kingston raised. If praying is any kind of addressing or pleading with God, then I guess it’s prayer of a sort. And no doubt those doing so sincerely believe they are merely acting in accordance with their conscience or dictates of religious belief. But saying prayers exhibitionistically looks and sounds more like political and moral heckling and an exercise in self-identification to me, addressed to the bypassing public rather than to God. Protest, legitimate though it may be, hardly co-exists with piety.

smk | 04 December 2015  

Fatima Measham resorts to sophistry to cover the basic and glaring contradiction her article contains. At one point she writes that she believes life begins at conception. She states whether a child is wanted or unwanted does not determine its personhood. Then in the very next paragraph the back-pedalling begins. Whatever 'bodily autonomy' and 'deprived of agency' may mean they result in women "being able to make a choice". In no way are the two beliefs she puts forward able to be "carried simultaneously". Fatima Measham would have us think that there is a difference between such words as 'want' and 'choose'. They are but synonyms. According to Fatima Measham a woman saying she does not want the child in her womb does not make it a non person. Yet she is willing to grant women that right to 'choose' whether they want the child. Does 'the ability to make a choice' deprive the child of its personhood when saying 'it is not wanted' does not? Despite her protestations to the contrary, Fatima Measham is pro-choice, or in other words, pro-abortion.

Gerald Lanigan | 04 December 2015  

Thank you. I feel that with this issue the reaction of many who genuinely try to live Christian lives can be less than Christian. Surely, in every instance we are called to think, feel and act with compassion. We have to see, judge and act for sure, but that is different from being judgemental. Only God can know the motivations of a person, and the totality of their experience that leads them to such a radical choice. We tend to judge actions, we cannot presume to know motivations, or what is in a persons heart. Its easy to focus on the other, it takes the attention away from our own responsibility. I would rather see us, re-focus on ourselves as a Christian community with a role to play in improving our society we live in. What can we do to make our society more compatible with life? How can we make it easier for women and their partners to understand and choose life? What is it about our value system, and the tyranny of how our economic, social and political orders converge that make an abortion the more palatable option to some? Tackle the issue not the person.

noelle fitzpatrick | 04 December 2015  

A couple of points, smk: The actions of Jesus reveal that protest and piety can co-exist (e.g., the same Christ who often prayed alone and with others drove out of those who turned his Father's house into a den of thieves). Further, you reduce "sacred" to a merely secular meaning. When Christians use this term in relation to "the sacredness of human life", ontological relationship of the new life with God is necessariiy implied. Within this understanding, abortion involves grave offence against the individual, society, and God's purpose. As for the priority status of the competing moral claims identified, I'd have thought that the right to freedom of choice presupposes right t to life, being dependent as it is on the fact that the latter must be respected.in order for choice to be exercised at all.

john | 05 December 2015  

A quiet reflective approach to a delicate subject yet it appears to have stirred up anger in some of the male readers. Could it be that when a man is raped he does not have to bear a child? How can any male understand what pregnancy and giving birth to an unwanted child can mean to a woman. The remark about frozen embryos was pertinent too.

Kath | 05 December 2015  

The author of this piece might have written differently if she had bothered to seek out the truth about the Helpers of God's Precious Infants and the truth about the devastating effects of abortion on women and indeed the fathers of aborted unborn children. It is necessary for the Helpers' life advocates to offer each client assistance to choose life for their child, accompanied with a leaflet which gives information on the development of the baby and numbers of agencies who can provide help, because not every abortion client is firm in their decision, knows the consequences of abortion or has the necessary support to continue the pregnancy. Contrary to the breathtaking pack of lies told by the abortion business in East Melbourne and which were the matrix on which the recent gag legislation was woven, the Helpers endure abuse, intimidation, threats and assaults to pray for all the unfortunate souls within the abortion business and to offer help. The writer needs to delve a little more deeply into the complexity of why women go for abortions: the main reason, and that which many shattered women bitterly regret, is that they can all too easily - with no checks and balances. Nobody is harassed in front of an abortion business in Melbourne - except the Helpers. Perhaps before your correspondent was born, abortion was illegal. You need to read the heart-wrenching testimonies of women and men whose lives have been ruined by abortion.

Maryse | 05 December 2015  

I wish to add, as one who counselled women both in crisis pregnancies and those who were struggling to repair their 'autonomy' after abortions which they could access all-too-easily, that it is a given that harassing abortion clients is unacceptable. But no Helper harrasses or intimidates abortion clients. You are knocking down straw men, Fatima.

Maryse | 05 December 2015  

Thank you Fatima for writing and thank you ES for publishing this carefully reasoned article on an issue that too many people reduce to simplistic twaddle. Only those who have been there and faced the decision really understand the issues involved. The sanctimonious prayers and intimidation of strangers is neither helpful nor welcomed.

Ginger Meggs | 05 December 2015  

No one, male or female, should have the right to kill an unborn child,

Marcus L'Estrange | 05 December 2015  

"Fatima Measham is pro-choice, or in other words, pro-abortion." Of course we have to remember that abortions have always happened and always will, and what we're talking about here is whether abortion should be safe and legal or unsafe and illegal. A couple of stories - the first one I heard from my mother who was a very respectable Catholic matron. When she was about 8 years old, she had a friend the same age who lived up the street. Quite suddenly the friend's mother went to hospital and died. The father, couldn't cope alone (he was going far and wide looking for work, in the Depression) took to drink, and the two children went to orphanages. Many years later my grandmother explained that Mum's friend's mother had become pregnant but thought they just couldn't afford another baby - they were barely paying the rent and eating - so she had a backyard abortion, and it killed her. That unsafe abortion destroyed that family. When I was about 8 my best friend's father went to gaol: his job was selling cars, but he was, unknown to even his wife, a backyard abortionist and a 16 year-old girl had died at his hands. Everyone knew of cases like these - that's why abortion was finally made legal and safe, and even Catholic women supported the change.

Russell | 05 December 2015  

The Roe in Roe v Wade after her case was won by two feminist lawyers has admitted that her evidence was false, designed by her lawyers, and has since become an active anti-abortion, pro-life advocate. "God love America"!

john frawley | 07 December 2015  

Isn't this method of analysis the thinking that got the Church into trouble over sex abuse? The type of pastoral concern for a sinner has consequences for a third person affected by the sinner's choices. The ACT Assembly passed a similar law in October, to take effect in a few months' time. The Minister sponsoring the law says that pro-lifers are welcome instead to have a presence outside the Assembly. But outside the Assembly is not where one finds a foetus being ambulated to its destiny. Isn't the Keep It Simple principle "It's the foetus!"? When the two competing claims are "It's the mother" versus "It's the foetus", how does a lay Catholic choose? Because abortion is defined by the power to bind and loose as an intrinsic evil, an evil for which there are no extenuating circumstances, the prudent thing is to follow the Church, an institution with a long corporate memory of interacting with secular powers. The Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn opposes the legislation and so, one suspects, does his fellow successor of the Apostles, the Archbishop of Melbourne. Where an evil is intrinsic, with the shepherds should go the sheep.

Roy Chen Yee | 07 December 2015  

The key statement in this article is that in the view of its author "bodily integrity is integral to the dignity of women." While Fatima uses weasel words to disguise this, she is really saying that "being able to have an abortion whenever they want is integral to the dignity of women." More weasel words follow: "being able to make a choice carries its own compelling morality." In other words, no one is allowed even to suggest that this choice might be morally wrong. Never before have I seen such a pro-abortion article in a Catholic publication.

Kevin McGovern | 07 December 2015  

This legislation was based on a heap of lies and driven by the profitable Fertility Control Clinic. The Helpers of God's Precious Children offer help to the women and have saved over 300 babies by helping their mothers. Abortion kills preborn babies in a a cruel and painful way. The Rights of the Child state, "the child, by reason og his physical and mental immaturity needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth." Is Eureka Street opposed to the Rights of the Child?

Katrina Pergl | 07 December 2015  

"Is Eureka Street opposed to the Rights of the Child? " Surely none of us are, and neither is the Convention on the Rights of the Child. During negotiations for the Convention a compromise position was reached - to leave it open for each state to determine what the minimum age of 'a child' would be. The Convention would not have been signed by so many countries that allow abortion, if it had been opposed to abortion.

Russell | 07 December 2015  

A disgraceful article made all the worst in that it was printed in a so called Catholic magazine. I was going to donate to Eureka but not now. Abortion is simply the cruel killing of (often for a short period) an unwanted child. Why try and dress it up any other way? Eureka Street is helping the profit margins of the abortion providers. No one, male or female, should have the right to kill off another person. There are a myriad of restrictions on what a person can do their bodies. We all have to wear seat belts, have to take registered medicines, cannot self harm, cannot assist in a suicide yet Eureka Street wants to except women who are brutally violent to a child in their womb. Stunning hypocrisy.

Marcus L'Estrange | 07 December 2015  

So many un-Christlike opinions, mostly by men! Casting stones! Women attending a clinic may be having counselling to help in their awful decision. Intimidating wannabe saviours are not helping this process. Go somewhere else to pray for them. Then be ready to adopt mother and child for life! Can you do that?

Marjorie Edwards | 07 December 2015  

It would do pro abortion women well to cease expressing the line 'abortion is not a man's business' as Marjorie Edwards has done. This attempt to cut men out of the equation exacerbates the problem of responsible parenting, not solves it. Men have every right to express their opinion. As a woman, I want men to care about babies and family.

Cathy | 08 December 2015  

It is a very sad decision to abort a fetus and I am sure one that is not taken lightly. However, it is not for us to judge, but to offer alternatives and assistance. Firstly, I am disappointed in the Catholic Church and others, for not putting their money into childcare and other supports for single mothers. Secondly, where are the fathers and where is their commitment to this child. It takes two. Throwing money alone is not good enough, fathers should give up equal time and money, just as the woman is expected to. Too often we speak of single mothers without mentioning the responsibilities of single fathers. Single women often feel that they have to give up everything to bring up a child, when the man gets off without responsibility. So instead of being full of judgment and even hate, let us find solutions. Let God be their judge, but don't forget he will judge us all on our love for one another and our efforts to help.

Katherine | 08 December 2015  

I regularly walked past an abortion clinic near my workplace and witnessed a prayer vigil that impressed me on most occasions, and angered me on others. When the leader of the vigil stood at the front door and paced up and down the footpath pushing brochures into women's faces as the entered the front door, I could only think that this man was deranged and was not doing these women or their unborn babies any favours. On the majority of occasions, however, I witnessed a group of people praying the rosary on the footpath opposite the clinic, and I felt proud to be Catholic. I even witnessed their faithful and peaceful vigil being smashed by a group of feral feminists (and I use the tag "feral" unapologetically, because they screamed abuse and scribbled nasty graffiti in chalk on the cement and garden beds, traumatizing the participants which included young children).

AURELIUS | 15 December 2015  

If life begins at conception how can you defend the destruction of that life?

Therese | 23 December 2015  

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  • Jeff Sparrow
  • 02 December 2015

For many years, historian Gary Foley has drawn attention to the racist past inscribed throughout the infrastructure of Melbourne University. Now, some staff and students are campaigning to rename facilities linked to particularly egregious individuals, such as the Richard Berry building, named after a leading eugenicist who stole the corpses of Indigenous people for research designed to prove the racial superiority of whites. While some accuse the campaigners of politically correct censorship, in fact the past has already been censored, and the campaigners are dragging it back into the light.