On 9 October 2018, the High Court of Australia will consider the constitutionality of Victorian and Tasmanian laws prohibiting protesting, offers of assistance and other types of communication around abortion clinics.
Those supporting the laws claim that they are needed considering the significant harm that may be caused by this conduct. There are, however, substantial problems with the medical evidence provided to the High Court in support of such claims.
This article by Dr Joseph Turner, Debbie Garratt and Dr Simon McCaffrey critiques this evidence and highlights key questions that remain unaddressed by the expert medical opinion.
This article concludes that the evidence has "substantial limitations" and that it may be difficult for the Court to rely on this evidence in assessing the extent to which individuals communicating outside abortion clinics may harm, or even help, women and others accessing the premises.
Here are some quotes from the paper:
"Failing to take account of the possible differences in the impact of such various types of conduct may lead to the conclusion that the presence of all individuals outside abortion premises is equally likely to cause harm to patients or employees of the premises.
"Such a conclusion is likely to be false considering that conduct such as respectful offers of assistance may not produce any harm and may even help women considering abortions to avoid harm.
"For example, some women may experience adverse mental health consequences from abortions that they may have avoided if they had been provided with support that would have allowed them to continue with their pregnancy.[v] More precise studies that account for the variability of conduct outside abortion clinics may indicate that broadly operating laws such as those that exist in Victoria and Tasmania may harm some persons, especially women considering abortion, and that more nuanced laws are required to ensure that at least respectful offers of assistance remain lawful.
"A further problem is that any medical procedure can be an adverse emotional experience for patients due to a range of factors such as the pain experienced from the medical condition, the health risks involved in the procedure, patient perception of vulnerability and the loss of privacy. Abortion may be a particularly emotional experience for patients or employees of clinics when compared to other procedures due to the nature of the procedure, the patient’s perception of the significance of the procedure, the possibility that the patient is being coerced to undergo the abortion by third parties, and the substantial community disagreement regarding the ethics of abortion.[vi] Dr Goldstone, Dr Allanson and the studies relied upon by them do not address whether and, if so, to what extent, the adverse emotional states identified by them could be due to the stressful nature of any medical procedure nor to the possibility that participation in abortion as a patient or employee may be particularly stressful."
View the entire paper here: https://walta.net.au/2018/10/01/the-high-court-abortion-clinic-speech-restrictions-and-the-assessment-of-harm/
David Robertson, a Christian minister in Scotland, has reported Scotland Police and the Scottish Government for committing a hate crime against Christians.
I have just fulfilled my civic duty and reported both Police Scotland and the Scottish Government for a ‘Hate Incident’ following this incident described yesterday....
You state that “A hate incident is any incident that is not a criminal offence, but something which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hate or prejudice.” By your own criteria your posters, especially the one on religion is a hate incident. I perceive it as being motivated by hate and prejudice.
Why? In my day-to-day life I experience a great deal of anti-Christian prejudice, fuelled by ignorance and prejudice. Your poster will just add to that. You imply that it is religious people who are responsible for what you call homophobia and transphobia (although you don’t define what you mean by these terms – is being opposed to SSM ‘homophobia’? Is believing that a woman is a ‘female adult human’ transphobia? By not defining your terms you have of course left room for people to claim your support for anything that they determine is ‘phobic’).
This comes after the Scottish Government in partnership with the Scottish Police has launched a new campaign deliberately targeting Christians in an effort to tackle the seemingly growing problem of “hate crime” in the country.
The ‘Letters from Scotland’ campaign (which is taxpayer funded) include letters printed on posters to bigots, transphobes, and homophobes. The posters urge citizens to report any “religious hate” they may see or hear.
One poster reads:
"Dear bigots, division seems to be what you believe in. We don’t want your religious hate on our buses, on our streets and in our communities. We don’t want you spreading your intolerance. Or making people’s lives a misery because of their religious dress. You may not have faith in respect and love, but we do. That’s why if we see or hear your hate, we’re reporting you. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland."
This message reveals a tyrranical sentiment towards anyone who opposes the status quo or so much as even dares to hold differing opinions. This is further reflected in a statement by Chief Superintendent John McKenzie:
“Police Scotland treats all hate-related crimes and incidents as a priority," he announced.
“It is recognised that hate-related crimes and incidents pose a significant threat to victims, their friends, families and wider communities, and the potential impact of such crimes cannot be underestimated.
“We continue to work tirelessly to ensure we respond to all reports of hate crime and I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of, or witnessed, a hate crime to report it.”
As Robertson, who is also the author of theweeflea.com, rightly points out:
They are selective – Its only certain groups that are mentioned. Look at what they leave out. What about those of us who are Christians who are regularly mocked and abused in the media, in our schools and on the streets? What about English people in Scotland? What about the disabled? Or many, many other groups? Why do they only pick on these select groups?
They are intimidatory – It is not the job of the police to police our thoughts and hearts. They can have no idea what we do or do not hate or love. Their responsibility is to deal with crimes that are committed. They do not have the time, money or ability to deal with our thoughts. But it seems they are going to try. The new State morality is going to be imposed through education and enforced by the State police – welcome to modern Scotland – the Saudi Arabia of Secularism.
They are self-contradictory – A poster which is designed to combat hate – spreads hate. Imagine a poster which said – Dear bigots, you can’t spread your homosexual hatred here!” . You would be arrested immediately for putting that up. But now the police and the Scottish government are putting up a poster which incites hatred – by implying that it is religion that is to blame. I get enough hatred in schools, Universities, the media and online, without the government and police encouraging it!
Furthermore, it must be noted that campaigns such as this one set a dangerous precedent concerning free speech and the right to express one's views without harassment or penalty.
New depth to slippery slope in California
A new Californian bill allows an individual to aid, advise, and encourage a person to commit suicide - and sign off on the method of suicide-while financially benefitting from the person’s death.
FamilyVoice WA Director Darryl Budge is deeply concerned by this new depth to the slippery slope. "Introducing legal coercion to direct financial beneficiaries of a person's lawful killing would explode the cases of elder abuse, where murder, not just financial exploitation, will be the common result."
"Family members who "encourage" the terminally ill into killing themselves will be granted full legal immunity, regardless of their motives for doing so. The patient would have to explicitly state in their will that any family member who encourages assisted suicide are to receive nothing," The Daily Wire reported.
Yesterday an Australian man who stood to gain $1.4 million in life insurance was convicted of aiding his wife's suicide. Cases like this would be legal in California if this bill passes.
The Abortion Bill proposed by Labor’s Jackie Trad is considered the most radical proposal to come before an Australian parliament. Over 6000 submissions were received and over 23,879 people signed the petition opposing the Bill.
In my submission to the Queensland Parliamentary Committee appointed to the matter I pointed out the following:
The language is in places dangerously obscure. For example, it could be interpreted that if a mother caused the death of her unborn child for any reason, at any time before birth, she would be not guilty of killing the child simply by claiming it was an abortion. (Part 3 paragraph 10)
It permits Safe Access Zones to be increased beyond 150 meters if a judge or magistrate considers a clinic has a case for an extension. (Part 4 Division 1, paragraph 4)
It fails to understand conscientious objection. It assumes that this applies only to not being personally involved in the abortion, but not to the duty to refer a patient for an abortion. (Section 8) Further it fails to understand that a faith-based medical institution may have been established with a conscientious commitment to protect life including the life of the unborn as an article of faith. Conscientious objection applies not only to individual persons but to faith-based institutions and entire communities of faith.
It is proposed abortion be on request with no requirements for a woman to be counselled. The assumption may be that this releases a woman from being influenced against an abortion. The greater issue is that a woman may be being coerced and proceeding because she feels unsupported. If the woman’s wellbeing was truly being considered this option should be included. Further this makes false the claim that this proposal seeks to remove abortion from the criminal code making it a medical matter. If it were a medical matter then a medical reasons would be required.
There is no protection for a child being terminated based purely on sex selection.
The reading of submissions listed (https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/committees/HCDSDFVPC/inquiries/current-inquiries/TerminationOfPregnancyB18) shows that most oppose the Bill for very substantial reasons.
Those who are proposing it to the Parliament should be embarrassed by its inadequacy and lack of humanity.
The Australian Senate has voted to retain Christian prayer, including the Lord's Prayer, at the start of daily business. The Senate’s Procedures Committee found no compelling reason to change the status quo with the vast majority of the 800 submissions received opposing the change, including one from FamilyVoice Australia.
"This wise action is to be commended," said FamilyVoice National Secretary David d'Lima. “This practice is in keeping with the spirit of the Preamble to the Constitution, by which 'the people ... humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God have agreed to unite…' And also, the decision is coherent with the basis of Australia's national identity, customs, laws, values and institutions."
It is always deeply gratifying to get a good result when we have put time into a submission or a campaign. While it may seem peripheral to the main business of Parliament, this prayer speaks to the very basis of our national wellbeing, for in doing so the Parliament humbly asks Almighty God for His blessing upon Parliament, and that He “direct and prosper (their) deliberations to the advancement of (His) glory, and the true welfare of the people of Australia.” A great prayer. We thank our supporters for resourcing us to do this important work.
FamilyVoice Australia upholds Christian values and the family: permanence of marriage, sanctity of human life, primacy of parenthood and limited government.
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