June 18th 2016

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Deregulation cause of dairy industry crisis

CANBERRA OBSERVED Double-dissolution election likely to deliver disillusionment

EDITORIAL Turnbull keeps his smile as all around lose theirs

LIFE ISSUES Infant viability fails to wake upper house interest

GLOBAL ECONOMY A generation left to twiddle its thumbs

LOCAL GOVERNMENT Amateur hour at the Brisbane City Council

EUTHANASIA Too quick a leap to counsel of despair

CULTURE WARS Australia Council cuts funding to Quadrant

SEXUAL POLITICS Gay "marriage" and the given in human procreative behaviour (Part 2)

FEDERAL ELECTION How to ensure your Senate vote goes all the way

PHILOSOPHY John Haldane holds true to faith-reason nexus

HISTORY The Chinese in Australia: not the story you've heard

MUSIC The times it takes to reach eternity

CINEMA Madcap adventures in the Kiwi bush: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

BOOK REVIEW The curate's egg

BOOK REVIEW That other great Irish prelate


 A day in the life of a religious white man from the point of view of evidence and truth

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Infant viability fails to wake upper house interest

by Terri M. Kelleher

News Weekly, June 18, 2016

The Infant Viability Bill was debated in the Victorian upper house on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

Rachel Carling-Jenkins, left,

and Brad Mattes, right.

The bill was to provide for holistic care and support, and referral to support and counselling services for women, and that abortion would be prohibited from 24 weeks. Where there was a risk of death or serious and permanent injury to the mother or the baby, the baby could be delivered early with every effort made to deliver the baby alive and appropriate care provided to the baby.

Sadly the bill was not passed. Eleven MPs voted for the bill and 27 against, with two MPs abstaining. The MPs who voted for the bill deserve recognition of their humanity in voting for a bill that aimed to provide care and support for mothers and their babies.

The number of MPs who did not vote for the bill to prohibit the deliberate destruction of viable babies is very disturbing.

The statement of the AMA two days before the vote was very powerful in its effect on MPs, especially some who had been expected to vote for the bill but in the event voted against it. The AMA described the bill as “dictat[ing] that certain medical services must be provided to all patients, regardless of a patient’s wishes or the treating doctor’s clinical discretion”.

What the bill actually provided was that, from 24 weeks, if there were a threat to the life of the mother or baby or a threat of serious and permanent injury to the mother or baby, early delivery of the baby was to be allowed. Every effort would have to be made to deliver the baby alive and appropriate care given to the baby. But deliberately killing the baby was to be prohibited.

The care to be provided to the baby was to be “appropriate” care, which would include palliative care where the baby was not expected to live for any length of time. So what the AMA was objecting to really is doctors not being legally allowed, from 24 weeks, to kill a baby deliberately or render it no medical or palliative care and let it die.

This is a version of the “not striving officiously to keep alive” argument. However, the bill did not prescribe what care was to be provided. That would be for the treating doctor’s clinical discretion. But killing the baby was not any longer to be a legal medical service.

The AFA fully supports the objective of the Infant Viability Bill and thanks Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins for her strength and courage in bringing the bill into the Parliament.

Support and care for mothers and babies is a worthy feminist cause, as well as being of concern to all caring people in the community. The road will be long but the first step has been taken.

On the Sunday after the debate on the Infant Viability Bill, Dr Carling-Jenkins introduced speaker Bradley Mattes at a forum hosted by the Australian Family Association. Mr Mattes is president and chief executive of the Life Issues Institute, internationally headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. He spoke on the seldom-visited topic of “Men and abortion”.

Based upon the most comprehensive research into how men are affected by abortion (Shostak, Arthur B. et al., Men and Abortion: Losses, Lessons and Love, New York, Praeger Publishers, 1984; and Shostak, Arthur B. et al, “Abortion clinics and waiting room men”; http://menandabortion.com/articles.html#wait), it can be estimated that at least 8 per cent of men who experience abortion are deeply affected in a negative way.

And that may be a low estimate as only men who accompanied their partners to the abortion clinic were interviewed. Men who did not accompany their partners, who may be more likely to not to have wanted the abortion, may be even more likely to suffer psychologically.

Mr Mattes listed some main symptoms of post-abortion stress in men as anger, becoming a workaholic to avoid contact with others for fear of revealing their terrible secret, or becoming incapable of holding down a job due to poor coping skills, failed relationships, and sexual dysfunction (as abortion is so closely tied to the act of sex).

They either find an intimate relationship with a woman too difficult or conversely act promiscuously or become addicted to pornography or masturbation to provide sexual release while avoiding an emotionally committed relationship.

There was great interest from the audience, especially the abortion counselors present.

As Brad said: “Few in the secular psychology profession acknowledge the existence of post-abortion stress in women. It is likely no one will concede the presence of post-abortion stress in men.”


How the vote went

Ayes 11

Melina Bath, Eastern Victoria, Nationals

Jeff Bourman, Eastern Victoria, Shooters & Fishers

Daniel Mulino, Eastern Victoria, Labor

Damian Drum, Northern Victoria, Nationals; (Nationals candidate for Murray in the federal election)

Daniel Young, Northern Victoria, Shooters & Fishers

Richard Dalla-Riva, Eastern Metro, Liberal

Nazih Elasmar, Northern Metro, Labor

Gordon Rich-Phillips, South-Eastern Metro, Liberal

Adem Somyurek, South-Eastern Metro, Labor

Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins, Western Metro, DLP

Bernie Finn, Western Metro, Liberal

Abstained/absent 2:

Inga Peulich, South-Eastern Metro, Liberal

Cesar Melham, Western Metro, Labor


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