A friendly hello and thank you to our local reproductive health clinics

I just rang up Marie Stopes International Australia and said a few friendly and supportive things to the receptionist and asked her to pass on my thanks to the rest of the staff there for their ongoing commitment to providing a full range of reproductive health services for women. I wanted them to know that there are still people who think well of them compared to the demonstrators outside many of their clinics right now as part of the “40 Days For Life” international anti-abortion campaign.

Not only do these “peaceful protestors” needlessly distress the women who are choosing to terminate their pregnancies for reasons that nobody else needs to know or pass judgement upon, they also make distressing assumptions about the women who attend such clinics for pre-natal and post-natal care or for other reproductive health matters, plus they disrupt surrounding businesses – this is of course all part of their plan to make such services non-viable because they hope that this passive-aggressive harassment of tangential neighbours and by-passers will make the clinics generally unwelcome in their communities.

I think next week I might get in touch with them again and say it with cakes.

Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism

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5 replies

  1. Longtime lurker finally motivated to comment. Agree it is good to acknowledge the work of abortion providers particularly in the direct face of opposition. Just wanted to post about a Women’s Abortion Action Campaign forum this Sun 23 Oct in Sydney commemorating the Levine Ruling and 40 years of legal abortion in NSW. Everyone is welcome to come and discuss ways to continue the fight to defend and extend women’s reproductive rights today, more on the WAAC website.

  2. Thank you & hear’hear!
    Expressing such thanks and solidarity is still so often cast as ‘Pro-abortion’. The more often we speak up the less traction we afford extreme/polarising views.

  3. I will send them a card. I thought of the cake idea when the Toolangi-castella anti logging action was going on (well, hot soup, but same idea) but what stopped me was the idea that they didn’t know me and what if I was some douchebag who would lace the food with some laxative or whatever? The logging conflict, like the abortion conflict, is full of evil bastards who will do whatever scumbaggery is possible against protesters, so I concluded it’s probably a good idea for protesters not to accept food from people they don’t know personally. But YMMV – I may be excessively paranoid (but this is brought about by observations of anti-abortion and pro-logging behaviour generally!)

  4. Following the links from the 40 Days website to the Sydney protest it is shown that the contact is in fact an Ob/Gyn doctor by the name of John James.
    The email address contains the domain name of his practice “Lejeune Family Medical Practice” which is not-so-subtly pro-life. He was also active as an anti RU-486 proponent. He is also involved with “Pregnancy Counselling Australia”, who keep using that word “counselling”, but I do not think it means what they think it means.
    I had a thought that there was probably some sort of ethical problem with a doctor organising a blockade of a competing medical clinic. The AMA says this in their code of ethics:

    3. Professional Independence
    a. In order to provide high quality healthcare, you must safeguard clinical independence and professional integrity from increased demands from society, third parties, individual patients and governments.
    b. Protect clinical independence as it is essential when choosing the best treatment for patients and defending their health needs against all who would deny or restrict necessary care.

    There may also be some legal basis for an economic tort case against him by the picketed clinic (but I don’t know enough about that to say).
    Also participants in NSW and probably elsewhere in Australia won’t be able to behave quite the same way as in they do in the US because:

    Whosoever… with a view to compel any other person to abstain from doing… any act which such other person has a legal right to do… wrongfully and without legal authority… follows such other person with two or more other persons in a disorderly manner in or through any street, road, or public place,… is liable, on conviction before the Local Court, to imprisonment for 2 years, or to a fine of 50 penalty units, or both.


  5. Nice digging deeper there, Sam. I’d noticed that the Sydney contact was a medico but hadn’t made the connection about organising the demo being possibly a breach of professional ethics.
    He’s been doing the anti-abortion organising for an awful long time by the look of it.

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