Sunday, September 07, 2008

US Elections and Abortion

I guess the blogs will be full of the US Presidential elections for the next 2 months. I wish they were only of little interest to me here in Australia but unfortunately they do result in the election of probably the most powerful person in the world. Thankfully since our elections last December, our new government will be more independent and not slavishly follow the requests of the US government as occurred in the Howard years. I am not likely to comment as it is really none of my business however the Palin woman does frighten me. If McCain wins, his continuing good health will be uppermost in my prayers.

Thankfully religion does not play a major role in Australian elections. Our present Prime Minister is a regular churchgoer but my favorite Prime Ministers from the past were either atheists or did not pay much attention to their religion. I do not think many Australians would know or care about the religious beliefs of the leaders of our governments.

Thankfully the abortion issue is kept out of party politics as such matters are usually declared a conscience vote and members of parliament are free to vote according to conscience rather than along any party line. Abortion law is a State matter so differs accordingly but there is a private member's bill before the national parliament later this month to scrap Medicare funding for abortions in Australia for women who are more than 14 weeks pregnant. Of course, if it is passed it will just mean that wealthy women can still have later abortions and only impact on the poor and vulnerable. It seems unlikely to be passed. Similarly a year or so ago a bill to end the Health Minister's (a devout Catholic at the time) decade-long control over the abortion pill RU486 was passed by conscience voting.

I believe it is none of my business as to what a woman does with her body. But it is wrong to call anybody pro-abortion just because they believe it should not be a criminal offence. In an ideal world, abortion would not be necessary. There would be good sex education along with easily obtainable and foolproof contraception. Abortions would only be needed for health reasons. But we do not live in such a world and strangely the opponents of legalised abortion seem to also be against sex education in schools. These people, like the Palin woman, say they are pro-Life yet are pro capital punishment (thankfully it is 60 years since the last hanging in Australia)and pro war, even pro blood sports.

I have done some research and find it was not until the late 1800s that the Catholic Church instituted the belief that the embryo acquires a soul at conception. Before that, there was no general consensus on abortion.

Also surveys in Australia conducted from 2003 to 2005 suggest that 80 per cent of Australians support a woman’s right to choose. A 2003 survey found that 77 per cent of respondents who held religious views believe in the right to choose. Of the 1,000 Catholics surveyed 72 per cent favoured choice. Evangelical groups held more restrictive views but even among this group 53 per cent were pro-choice.

For some enlightened (in my view) discussion go and read Elizabeth Keaton


Fran said...

"I believe it is none of my business as to what a woman does with her body. But it is wrong to call anybody pro-abortion just because they believe it should not be a criminal offence."

Truer words were never spoken, this is a real issue for me, as I am personally opposed to abortion but in full support of a woman's right to choose.

Amen brother and thank you. Sorry we are a dull lot of late.

Doorman-Priest said...

"I guess the blogs will be full of the US Presidential elections for the next 2 months."
Yes, and what a bloody nightmare that will be!

Anonymous said...

Evangelical politicians in the USA are a nightmare for all of us

Fran said...

Trust me- I would rather be posting on other things gentlemen.

Brian I linked to this post just now.

Cany said...

Yes, it does matter to the world. I think many in the US don't really get that and don't realize that our world reputation has been trashed over the last eight years. Sad, really.

I will be glad, personally, when the elections are over so I can get back to what I do, normally, both on line and not. I have to give a talk this weekend and haven't even started thinking about an outline or handouts yet. I could probably do it with my eyes closed, but like to be better prepared.

As for the A word, it is a controlling factor (because of religion... where it is parked for the most part on the religious right--with the notable exception of franiam, of course:).

I still cannot believe Obama actually did the Rick Warren thing knowing this. Strategic bad call. He admitted yesterday in an interview that his response, "above my pay grade" was not the best remark to have made, but iterated some things he should have said at the time. Sigh. Oh well.

June Butler said...

Another voice from the US to say that the our election is very much your concern, Brian, because what the US does affects the entire world. I only wish you had a vote.

Imagine the chaos if the law directed the police to arrest all the doctors and and all the women who participate in abortions. Abortions should be kept out of politics. It is a matter of conscience.

Brian R said...

Barach probably wishes we could vote too, Mimi.:-) An article in today's paper says two thirds of Australians prefer Obama to McCain. Only Kenya, France and Italy poll better for him.