Guy Barnett pushing another punitive bill amendment on abortion

LABOR MPs will get a conscience vote on a controversial push to scrap Medicare funding for abortions in Australia for women who are more than 14 weeks pregnant. [link]

The ALP’s national executive committee has confirmed it will recommend that Labor MPs and senators be offered a conscience vote on a disallowance motion pushing for a ban on taxpayer-funding for mid-term and late-term abortions.

A final phone hook-up will be required to confirm the arrangements. A number of conservative Labor MPs and senators are expected to use the opportunity to vote in favour of the disallowance motion.

Tasmanian Liberal senator Guy Barnett wants to end a $267 taxpayer subsidy for terminations between 14 and 26 weeks, claiming the current system in Australia is “abortion on demand” rather than in the interests of women’s health and welfare.

Guy Barnett once more pushes his fantasy of hordes of whimsical women who just wake up after several months of a normal pregnancy and decide “oh, I’m so bored, I’ll entertain myself with an abortion today”. This measure is nothing more than punishing women who have either been prevented from accessing earlier abortion services, or who have discovered a serious health problem with their pregnancy, by refusing them help with significant medical expenses.

Here’s hoping that Brendan Nelson pushes through a conscience vote for Liberal MPs and Senators as well – there’s quite a few pro-choice Liberals in Parliament alongside the conservatives.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, medicine

Tags: , , ,

29 replies

  1. THanks for this Tigtog.

  2. Does anyone have any statistics on how many of these procedures occur yearly and what the cost is to the taxpayer? I suggest on both counts the answer is very little and that this is nothing more than another ideologically-driven attack on women by a sad middle-aged man (who undoubtedly has a small penis).

  3. Guy Barnett is total twit – but they aren’t all total twits. I wrote to all the Senators last week explaining why they should vote against this amendment (except Guy Barnett, I just told him that he’s a misogynist and aksed him why he thought someone else was more qualified that a woman to make decisions about her own health and wellbeing), and got this reply from Simon Birmingham.
    Rebekkas last blog post..But it’s dangerous living on the side of a volcano/a ruddy great faultline/somewhere with hurricanes/mudslides/monsoons – why don’t you just leave?

  4. The screen done for chromosal abnormalities (Downs, but I think it also screens for spina bifida and things like hydrocephalus) is done (if the woman elects to have it done, of course) between 11w and 13w6d. Which means that if you have it done at the later end of that window (and I was told to, as it would be more accurate), and a major abnoamlity is detected, you are already past 14 weeks before you can terminate.
    And it’s not illegal, it’s just not being subsidised any more, which means that it’ll be the poorer mothers who will be the most impacted.
    You know, exactly the demographic who’ll be able to pay for the expensive ongoing medical treatment that a Downs Syndrome child will need without relying on…what’s that government assistance called again…MEDICARE.

  5. Btw, title not quite accurate, since it’s an amendment to a regulation, not a bill.

  6. Thanks Rebekka, I’ve amended the title 🙂

  7. Rainne,
    Exactly – rich women will always be able to get an abortion. Always.

  8. This is so disappointing. That was one cool email reply you got though Rebekka!

  9. Yes it is, and thank you for doing that Rebekka!

  10. Ugh!
    Remember how the media interpreted the Gans/Leigh caesarian survey as “selfish women delaying babies for the baby bonus money”?
    Well I just found this – selfish women having late term abortions for the baby bonus!!
    Ugh! Ugh!

  11. Ugh Helen, I spotted that one a week or two ago, but it doesn’t seem to have caught on in the public consciousness.
    Love the way Packham has characterised it as a “loophole”, which is of course complete rubbish.
    Why do people persist in thinking that the baby bonus is all for buying nappies? Many families seem to use it up (and then some, often) just with medical and related bills and the unpaid time off work that they need – and these are just as applicable when a woman is in the awful situation of needing a late-term abortion. I guess they would like people to think that we all run out and get pregnant for fun, then saunter out for a 24 week abortion on our lunch breaks, and pocket the cash?
    Angry of Tasmania summed it up in comments, I guess: “[the baby bonus] encourages the wrong people to get pregnant and have babies”.

  12. Lynda @ 2: Senator Barnett included some statistics in his briefing paper, which is on his website.
    According to his own stats, last year the “Australian taxpayer” (how I hate that term) spent $157,250 subsidising 790 second or third trimester abortions.
    My first reaction was – that’s it? Only $150,000 a year to ensure women have access to safe abortions?
    He whineth way too much, methinks, but I suppose it’s all part of the workings of his distorted mind.

  13. I wonder how many of those ‘abortions’ were for women like a close friend of mine who lost her baby at 7 months (in utero) and had an induced labour to expel the dead foetus? Would this count as an abortion?

  14. Not sure, but its highly likely – Medicare codes are pretty general, and a diliation and cutterage for miscarriage is the same code for a d&c to abort…

  15. “then saunter out for a 24 week abortion on our lunch breaks”
    Yes, quite! A 24 week abortion involves induced labour, not exactly a picnic.
    But Mindy, it probably does include what your friend went through, as the actual Medicare item is:
    Item number 16525 – “Management of second trimester labour, with or without induction, for intrauterine foetal death, gross foetal abnormality or life threatening maternal disease”.

  16. Thanks Rebekka that’s what I thought. So if his bill goes through, women like that could have their fertility compromised if they can’t afford the out of pocket expenses. Pretty harsh for women (and men) losing much wanted pregnancies.

  17. Is this guy seriously up in arms about a $200 medical procedure?
    I wonder whether he realises it’s twice that to attend a normal birth, $500 to whip off a 30-minute C section without doing any prenatal or labour care, or that there’s a thousand-dollar rebate to doctors attending a birth with risk factors? (Note that the risk-factor windfall includes labours longer than 12 hours, “fetal distress” “diagnosed” on CTG, and gestational diabetes requiring daily blood glucose monitoring.)

  18. I think the following sentence from Barnett’s discussion paper to the Senate indicates his state of mind:
    “Since 1994 the Australian taxpayer has paid abortionists about $1.7 million to perform over 10,000 second trimester and late term abortions.”
    That’s right everyone – “abortionist” is apparently a profession now! Not “medical practitioner” or “doctor”, but “abortionist”. I’m guessing his wording was carefully chosen in an attempt to make people who perform abortions seem unqualified and unprofessional.

  19. I don’t think it’s really the cost that’s bothering him, just what he thinks is happening. I suspect he doesn’t realise that women who have lost their babies need to undergo this procedure, and in fact may make up the bulk of the people undergoing it.

  20. “women like that could have their fertility compromised if they can’t afford the out of pocket expenses. Pretty harsh for women (and men) losing much wanted pregnancies.”
    Yes, quite. Although I doubt they make up the bulk of people accessing the procedure – I’d hazard a guess that there are more women who’ve had genetic screening and want a termination after they discover that they’re carrying a foetus with a major abnormality.
    But imagine being told your baby had died in utero, and then not being able to afford to have labour induced – what a total tool Guy Barnett is.

  21. I suspect he doesn’t realise that women who have lost their babies need to undergo this procedure, and in fact may make up the bulk of the people undergoing it.

    Mindy, that may once have been true, but he’s been told it over and over and over again in recent years, every time he gets up and rides this hobbyhorse around the Senate again.
    He doesn’t want to hear it, let alone acknowledge it and factor it into his proposed amendment.

  22. I should have known.

  23. I can’t believe what this man stands for. Good news though, the Tasmanian Liberal Party has a change to get rid of this extremist as he is about to face preselection for his seat and it is doubtful they will have him back. The best way for us to help that happen is to write to Tasmanian papers –;;
    I’m sending one today!

  24. Hey girls, I think you miss the point. Talking from a midwives point of view there is so much danger in abortions. I see it over and over again. The abortionist are just in it for the money, they don’t even explain to these hormone affected women(yes I have been there 3 times)that their baby has a heart beat from 24days, that it has brain waves from 43days, can feel pain,suck his/her thumb and feel pain by 10weeks.So what you might say.Well the after affects of abortion are huge. Most women suffer from the realization that they have killed their baby and live with the post traumatic symptoms,often for life. One of my friends was so cut, lost all her confidence and always was looking at kids, wondering what hers would be like. Others commit suicide, become permiscious, self harm, bad dreams etc. It’s not as simple as having your tonsils out, it really is murdering your own child and even if you aren’t told these facts it seems to catch up with most women sooner or later. It even raises their risk of breast cancer if it’s their first baby. Some Mums loose the only chance of having a baby-that sucks. Get the facts, you’ll be blown away with the trauma that is caused by what seems as the womans choice. Make wise choices to prevent the pregnancy, before it happens, it’s too late after. Medicare has paid $1.7 Mill on destroying 2nd trimester babies, that could have gone to better education or health for those in need.

  25. Seeing as you obviously haven’t bothered to read the commenting guidelines, welcome to permanent moderation, Ms Overell.
    Apart from being insufferably patronising, you are also sufficiently factually incorrect that I very much doubt that you are actually a midwife. A midwife might possibly be deluded regarding that long debunked claim associating breast cancer with abortion, but it would have to be sheer wilful blindness to assert that foetuses with no cerebral cortex can feel pain at 10 week’s gestation – a reflex response to noxious stimuli is not the same as “feeling pain”.
    In any case, I still don’t see how a developing lifeform takes precedence over the already existing lifeform that is the pregnant woman.

  26. I don’t know what “permiscious” is, but it sounds bad.

  27. But almost in a good way…


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