May 10th 2014

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Articles from this issue:

CHILD CARE INQUIRY: Should parents or paid strangers raise children?

ECONOMIC AGENDA: Sorting out the confusion over Australia's agricultural exports

EDITORIAL: Is the Coalition government losing its way?

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Joe Hockey's two-phase plan to cut budget deficit

EDUCATION: How contemporary schooling devalues great literature

ENVIRONMENT: PM's top business adviser rejects climate alarmism

HEALTH: Kirby Institute report silent on incidence of AIDS

TRANSPORT: Finding a better solution to our traffic problems

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Russia ups the ante, but faces backlash in Ukraine

LIFE ISSUES: What really happens outside the abortion clinic?

UNITED KINGDOM: Christian arrested in Britain for quoting Bible, wins damages

PAKISTAN: Council of Islamic Ideology 'anti-women': Sindh assembly


CULTURE: Remembering the quality of mercy

BOOK REVIEW: The Tragedy of Liberation, by Frank Dikotter

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What really happens outside the abortion clinic?

by John Young

News Weekly, May 10, 2014

In recent weeks large sections of Victoria’s media have fiercely denounced the pro-life association called the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants for their alleged behaviour outside the Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne.

Jen Vuk.

To cite one of many reports, Jen Vuk, in The Age of March 17, claims the Helpers, “for the last 42 years” have “gathered like a storm” outside this clinic, “with the sole aim of getting under the skin of the vulnerable women (and occasionally their partners) who find themselves there”.

She speaks of “their crude arsenal of posters, pamphlets and poisonous rhetoric”. She alleges: “On occasion, clients were called names you certainly would not hear uttered during Sunday Mass.”

Jen Vuk continues: “You can just imagine what such systemic intimidation does to staff morale, let alone their mental health.” She refers also to the fatal shooting of a security guard about 12 years ago, and says the shooter “was seen with the protestors on at least two previous occasions”.

If I had no personal experience of what happens outside the Wellington Parade abortion clinic in East Melbourne, I would possibly suspect that there must be some truth in the charges, despite my mistrust of media reports on abortion issues. But I have prayed outside the clinic on many occasions and I know most of the Helpers involved. The reports are untrue.

The Helpers who go there pray quietly, with one or two of their number approaching pregnant women entering the building, and offering support. They are gentle and sympathetic. If the women refuse, their freedom is respected. They are never bullied.

Over the years, several hundred babies have been saved through the help and encouragement offered their mothers by the Helpers. Unfortunately, many thousands of babies have been killed at that clinic.

Insinuations are made that the man who shot dead a security guard 12 years ago was involved with the Helpers. That is completely untrue — which, no doubt, is why the alleged association is hinted at, not stated. But the insinuation tends to tarnish the Helpers.

Silence is maintained about the disgraceful behaviour of some (not all) of the security guards engaged by the abortion clinic. They have frequently insulted and jeered at people praying peacefully. On one occasion, about seven years ago, a guard was found guilty of knocking an elderly and frail Helper to the ground, and was heavily fined.

The people from whom the charges originate should be well aware that they are untrue. But do they see this clearly? The charges come from abortionists and supporters of abortion, including people who have been for years in the business of killing pre-born babies. This behaviour is so horrific that those guilty of it subconsciously set up a psychological barrier to prevent themselves confronting the horror.

Then they project their subconscious guilt feelings on to others: in this case on to the Helpers, whose very presence is a condemnation of the murders committed in the abortuary. They demonise the people who reveal the truth, and by that means conceal from their conscious minds the horror of what happens in that place, with its killing of babies and the consequent traumatising of the unfortunate mothers.

A result of this is that when staff from the clinic, for example, make statements to the media or the police or the city council, they may appear perfectly sincere. To what extent they actually delude themselves I don’t know, but I am sure this psychological defence mechanism is a vital element in the whole matter of the defence of abortion or blindness to its real nature.

Many people who read the accusations against the Helpers will assume they are true. Why? Partly through brainwashing by the media: if the stories are repeated often enough, and with the language manipulation evidenced in the above quotes from Jen Vuk, readers tend to accept them. (Note expressions such as “gathered like a storm” and “getting under the skin of the vulnerable women” and “crude arsenal of posters, pamphlets and poisonous rhetoric”). Phrases like these are examples of brainwashing, not objective reporting.

Another factor that sways people who read these charges, and who lack any first-hand knowledge of what actually happens, is an appearance of sincerity in some who make the charges and who are in a position to know the truth. People who delude themselves about the horror of the activities in which they are involved can often seem truthful when they misrepresent the Helpers they are so keen to get rid of.

Then there is the saying, “There’s no smoke without fire”. The person without personal knowledge of the situation may assume the charges to be at least substantially true: otherwise why would they be made so insistently?

I have outlined the reasons. The matter can be summed up by saying that it is not smoke but a smokescreen; and the fire is hellfire.

John Young is an Australian philosopher who lives in Melbourne. His book, The Scope of Philosophy (Gracewing Publishing), is available from News Weekly Books. 

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