Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Dropping the A-Bomb

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    I can understand infanticide as a horrible choice when resources are overstretched and abortion and contraception are not available. Not a choice likely to be faced in NZ.

    Sadly not true: Student, 20, charged over death of baby

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Was talking to a doctor friend who does vasectomies and terminations. Demand for abortions is falling (probably because of better contraception) and services are being cut back. But because it is a legal process, not just a medical one, it is very well paid. So you would think governments would be keen to make terminations a simple medical procedure like a vasectomy, and remove the legal barriers, and they would save lots of money.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Not to mention removing the barriers towards getting any kind of procedure to get rid of your fertility. Women - again, women are the ones who have their sexuality controlled - cannot get hysterectomies or tubal ligations carried out if they choose to.

    I have never ever wanted a child. The concept of what sex or (dis)abilities the fetus might have would be completely irrelevant to me if I were to fall pregnant again. I am just thankful I was in the UK when I had to have a termination, because there is a lot less song and dance about it than there is in NZ (although still you need to tell a doctor your mental health would be at severe risk if the pregnancy were to continue - but it's on site at the clinic). Like anyone else I've heard of, I wouldn't undo my decision.

    But none of these objections to abortion on whatever grounds explain why exactly it is so difficult for women to get rid of their fertility. I imagine that I would still have problems getting a tubal ligation now, since I have never given birth. Maybe at age 46, I might be "allowed" to have such a procedure. A younger friend of mine - 28 - has been told in no uncertain terms it's impossible for her to get her tubes tied.

    The common thread in this is just as simple as denying women agency of their own bodies in some mythological drive to ensure there are plenty of babies (and frankly, there often seems to be more than a slight whiff of racism/xenophobia about "concerns" about dropping birth rates).

    I also agree that the reasons women choose or don't choose to have children can be incredibly fucked up - both ways. I know it's not PC to say so, but there are people out there (of any class, ethnicity and nationality) who should not have had kids. So if people can have kids without any "approval" whatsoever, then I can't see how anyone should be denied the ability to choose otherwise (yes, I know that terminating pregnancy and destroying fertility requires medical intervention that is paid for by the state to some degree - so is pregnancy, even more overtly in countries with "baby bonuses").

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to TracyMac,

    I imagine that I would still have problems getting a tubal ligation now, since I have never given birth. Maybe at age 46, I might be "allowed" to have such a procedure. A younger friend of mine - 28 - has been told in no uncertain terms it's impossible for her to get her tubes tied.

    I was told the same thing repeatedly when I wanted a vasectomy from about age 21. That we when the internet was a dwarf of a thing and it was hard to get information, so I basically toured doctors as I had the time and energy. It took some effort, but about age 23 I had a "temporary" one (and at 35-ish a permanent one). So no, it's not just women that have that problem. But I strongly suspect it is worse for them because it's a somewhat more invasive procedure and ... the social reasons.

    FWIW I know two women who had ligations but both after complications from giving birth where it was pretty clear that they'd be unlikely to survive another attempt. I've met a number of men public about having vasectomies but no women public about having ligations. I wonder why?

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Sadly not true: Student, 20, charged over death of baby

    In New Zealand (I think) all such cases result in charges being laid - because by laying charges the police and the court can ensure that the mother gets proper psychiatric care. I don't know for certain but I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of those cases never go to court, the intent of police and the courts is that a mother gets proper care for what is a psychiatric problem not a criminal problem.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I don’t know for certain but I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of those cases never go to court

    She was convicted of infanticide and sentenced to supervision and community work but then the conviction was cancelled for work/visa issues for her

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to TracyMac,

    denying women agency

    institutional misogyny

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Emma Hart,

    abortion is illegal. Abortion is a crime, which carries penalties including imprisonment.

    Atrocious.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

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