OPINION

Abortion has not been good for freedom

BILL: Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, Pro-choice Alliance chair Wendy McCarthy and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard. Picture: AAP
BILL: Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, Pro-choice Alliance chair Wendy McCarthy and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard. Picture: AAP

I'VE been asked many times "Why haven't you written on the Israel Folau sacking?" Honestly, I'm ambivalent.

I'm a big believer in freedom of speech, so its removal is something we should fight against with all we have and we should never see its removal as something small. On the other hand, I'm a bigger believer in things like agreements, covenants and contracts, because no fair person wants to live in a society where people can break their written word.

Keeping the laws and covenants of society is what has kept civilisation civilised. I may be wrong, but it appears to me that Israel Folau passed the freedom of speech test - but not the code of conduct, and thus, contractual law test.

If the dual principles of freedom and the law are the two wings that keep a healthy society soaring, then over the last 50 years almost any debate against abortion in Australia has had both wings broken.

What is the motivation behind the private member's bill aimed at removing abortion from the NSW Crimes Act?

Let's, for the sake of argument, say the politicians involved, and most people who are in favour of abortion, sincerely intend good.

But look at what abortion has done for freedom and the law in Australia.

Abortion has created exclusion zones so that now, for the first time in Australia since federation, the great Australian right to protest anything, anywhere will be punished with six months' jail.

This doesn't seem fair given former Greens leader Bob Brown won a High Court case against the state of Tasmania after protesting in the forest. The High Court held that the provisions of Tasmania's Protesters Act (2014) were invalid, in favour of the "implied freedom of political communication" in the constitution.

In 2015, the NSW Parliamentary Research Service released a briefing paper Protests and the Law in NSW in which it stated: "The common law right to assembly has been expressly recognised by Australian courts, including the High Court of Australia and the NSW Supreme Court, in terms which illustrate an 'acceptance of the role of protests as part of democratic systems of government'."

Abortion has also created restrictive and deceptive speech: an unborn baby is now to be referred to by the scientific term fetus - problematic for mothers who call the fruit of their womb a blessed "him" or "her" rather than an impersonal "it".

Abortion is called a termination (without even the integrity of saying what is being terminated).

And those who are pro-abortion are called pro-choice (again, without the integrity of declaring what that choice is).

Then, there's the freedom-crushing and logic-defying language that sees only religious people called intolerant.

Religious politicians can't take their beliefs into parliament, but non or anti-religious politicians can.

The irony of ironies is that abortion has been presented as concern for vulnerable women by multi-millionaires in a billion-dollar industry.

The measure of a society is how it protects its vulnerable, be they unborn children or their mothers who are often pressured to choose against life.

Greater access to abortion means less freedom for these.

If the abortion industry's indifference to freedom scares us, as it should, then its indifference to the law should scare us more.

Abortion has been a crime in NSW for the past 119 years, so how have millions of abortions been permitted over the past five decades?

A District Court decision in 1971, allowing abortions in the case of "reasonable belief a woman's physical or mental health would be endangered", was against the spirit of the existing legislation, and more obviously so now as the numbers continue to stack up.

The NSW Crimes Act has been criticised for being old and thus "archaic", which is not even an argument. Federation and air travel are almost as old, as is so much else that improves our modern world.

Should circumvention of the law over the past half century be rewarded with enshrinement in it?

If the private member's bill fails and abortion remains a crime under the New South Wales Crimes Act, would abortions stop? No.

I am deeply saddened and ashamed that so many Australians have allowed themselves to be led into temptation by making law the belief that life hasn't actually begun at 22 weeks. This is even though the baby has everything they do - including eyes, ears, mouth, nose, arms, legs, fingers, toes and, of course, a heartbeat.

I wanted to write a light-hearted column this week and make up as many silly gags as I could.

However, it has been hard to joke while the land of my birth gives her blessing to the prevention of others from even being born.

Twitter: @fatherbrendanelee