Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Pain relief not necessary. You Shaw?

If you're a twitter user, you might have seen the hashtag #tummyeggs trending last week. This term was coined by Frankston MP Geoff Shaw when he announced his plans to introduce a bill with 6 proposed changes to current Victorian abortion law.

Amongst the changes, Shaw is proposing the following:

  • The requirement for pain relief to be administered to a foetus being aborted (currently law for animals but not for unborn babies);
  • Allowing doctors with a moral or conscientious objection to abortion not to be legally required to refer a patient to another doctor;
  • The criminalisation of gender based abortion;
  • The requirement to resuscitate babies that are born alive during a failed abortion; and
  • Counselling for families who take part in an abortion and informed consent to be included in the Act.
The changes have predictably been labelled as "radical". It's a sad day when seeking pain relief for an unborn child that can feel pain is deemed "radical".

Shaw is not attempting to strip away the right to abortion (which is a completely different kettle of fish), he's merely trying to introduce humane changes to the current draconian legislation.

Sounds reasonable doesn't it? I mean, who would advocate inflicting pain on an unborn child? Who would leave for dead a baby that is born alive? Who would abort  a baby purely because it was not a certain sex? 

Sadly, plenty.

One of the plenty is Susie O'Brien. In her Herald Sun blog, she boldly stated:

"There is absolutely no need for “pain relief for foetuses” and resuscitation attempts for foetuses which survive."
Given she failed to reference a medical study or some form of medical professional, I'm not sure how she can claim there is "absolutely no need...". This statement is especially problematic when you consider that the United States legislated, in no less than 8 States, that women be informed that their unborn baby can feel pain. 

Her claim also flies in the face of modern science that tells us that a foetus can in fact feel pain as early as 22 weeks.

However this is not the important point. It merely demonstrates that there are people out there, people in positions of influence, mothers of children, who actually think babies aborted right up to birth do not require, or should not have access to pain relief before being terminated. Or that babies actually born alive should be left to die. Good luck trying that argument on Gianna Jessen, a healthy survivor of a botched abortion.

Under current law, a person can be liable for manslaughter by omission if they do not make an effort to keep a dying person alive. This is if they have a duty of care to the person who dies. How is leaving a new-born baby to die any different? You can't hide behind the old "it's not a baby until it's born therefore abortion is fine" argument. In this case, a human being is born and some people think it is necessary to leave it to die.

The thing is, Susie O'Brien and other pro choice advocates can't logically campaign for pain relief to foetuses without admitting that they are comfortable taking the life of a living baby. Agreeing to pain relief is essentially admitting that a foetus is a living being, rather than a clump of cells, one that is capable of feeling pain. 

On the flipside, if they take the line that pain relief is not necessary because a foetus cannot feel pain, they are disagreeing with modern science that stipulates that a foetus as early as 22 weeks can feel pain. I know who I'd be listening to in an argument on whether or not a foetus can feel pain.

To add insult to injury, animals are treated more humanely in this country. In fact, it is law that animals must be given pain relief before being aborted!

Specifically, the National Health and Medical Research Council have safeguards in place for procedures involving unborn animals stating:

"Animals at early stages in their development, that is, in their embryonic, foetal and larval forms, can experience pain and distress."
Guideline 3.3.10 covering analgesia for unborn animals says:
"Unless there is evidence to the contrary, it must be assumed that foetuses have comparable requirements for anaesthesia and analgesia as adult animals of the species. Approaches to avoid or minimise pain and distress in the fetus must be designed accordingly."
Of course, once you point out the fact that a foetus can feel pain and that even animals are afforded the right to pain relief, the standard fall back argument for the pro-pain mob is the standard "your body your choice" slogan. They refer to it so quickly you'd be excused for thinking they say it on auto-pilot.

"Darl, I'm making a coffee."

"No worries. Your body your choice."

"Honey, I'm going for a quick run."

"Ok. Your body your choice."

"Love, what do you feel like for dinner?"

"Your body your choice!"

Again, this argument is flawed when you consider it logically. Firstly, if you believe a foetus can feel pain (which, as above, science says they can as early as 22 weeks) then it goes without saying that the slogan should be amended to "your babie's body, your choice".

Secondly, the whole argument collapses when you consider slippery slope cases such as the UK woman who wanted an abortion purely because being pregnant might have harmed her chances to appear on Big Brother.

In this case, the "your body your choice" argument can work one of two ways. Either:

1. you have to respect her choice and therefore condone an abortion for a selfish reason such as wanting to go on Big Brother (which then proves abortion is really about whether the mother wants the baby or not and completely strips the baby from its right to live), or:

2. you exclude a case like this from the argument, which then means the whole argument collapses as you pick and choose when to apply it.

Either way, the result is damning for the "your body, your choice" argument. Not to mention the fact that as an unborn baby can feel pain, the woman's body is not the only one to consider.

Let's remember that abortion was initially decriminalised to cater for genuine crisis pregnancies. Anti-life advocates used to tell you, "No women wants to go through the pain and suffering of an abortion, but sometimes there is no alternative." They'll justify the decision on financial grounds, or on them not being in a position to actually look after the baby.

Pro-lifers would respond with, "you just have an abortion when you don't want the child" to which they would be shot down as the most insensitive people on the face of the Earth.

How things have changed. Clementine Ford wrote this for the soon to be de-funded ABC:

"I can guarantee you that for as long as the human race has been in existence, women have supported each other to end pregnancies that they did not want."
So why have the pro-pain mob defend this accusation in the past? I thought we were insensitive if we even suggested it?

If you break through the "your body your choice" rubbish, the next hurdle, which is essentially the same argument, is; "Why do men have to tell women what to do with their own bodies?"

Last time I checked, it took both a man and a woman to create a foetus. Therefore, men and women have an equal interest in their unborn baby. It has become so commonplace and almost popular to bar men from the whole debate. It is framed as a women's issue. Do men not have a voice in the debate about their baby? Or is the general consensus that men should shut up so we can continue to abort female babies?

Among the proposed changes, Geoff Shaw is proposing to make it a requirement for families who take part in an abortion to undergo counselling. Currently, there is no such requirement. So much for wanting the best for women.

You don't need to be a brain surgeon to work out that the majority of abortions are devastating and heart wrenching for any couple, but particularly the woman. Surely counselling would assist to ease the burden.

As the late Charlotte Dawson said after her abortion:

"I felt a shift... Maybe it was hormonal, but I felt the early tinges of what I can now identify as my first experience with depression."

Many women experience the same depression post abortion. To deny this is to close your eyes. Experiencing some form of depression post abortion is normal. After all, it is an experience no woman would wish for.

In response to Geoff Shaw's proposed changes, State opposition leader Daniel Andrews was quoted as saying:
“The Labor Party will have no part, no part whatsoever in a dirty, grubby deal between Geoff Shaw and Denis Napthine to change the abortion law in our state...“We’re having absolutely no involvement in that because it’s wrong, it is fundamentally wrong.”
Yes Mr Andrews, choosing to inflict pain, leave a baby for dead or abort it based on its sex is fundamentally wrong. How about actually engaging in the debate rather than hiding behind your own "grubby" politics. Quite clearly this issue needs to be debated as it divides opinion everywhere you go.

So while the opposition and media attempt to boycott the debate under the guise of attacking Geoff Shaw's character, I commend Shaw for trying to address this issue. He is showing that he is strong enough to not just see the injustices, but call them and try to address them.

As well as the State opposition leader, the left-wing pro-pain/choice crowd would seemingly prefer to inflict pain on unborn babies that are scientifically proven to feel pain, would prefer to leave a baby born alive to die in a kidney dish or a wheelie bin, do not have women's best interests at heart by supporting them through counselling, advocate gender based abortions, and prefer humans to be subordinate to animals.

Susie O'Brien and Clementine Ford, thanks for providing  the blatant evidence that this law needs to change. Maybe it's time you slept in the kennel and let the dogs have the main bedroom given you seem happy they have greater rights than us.

All the best,
Dom Meese


  1. Great blog, thanks Dom. What a hideous situation.

    Hope you don't mind, I linked to it over at Catholic Talk.

  2. Thanks Mon! No worries at all. Keep the good work on your blog going!