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Monica Doumit: False “choice” won’t stop with Canberra

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The Senate standing committee on community affairs report into universal access to reproductive healthcare noted that if women who don’t contracept or who take the pill could be put on long-lasting reversible contraception, the Federal Government would save $88m over a five-year period.
The Senate standing committee on community affairs report into universal access to reproductive healthcare noted that if women who don’t contracept or who take the pill could be put on long-lasting reversible contraception, the Federal Government would save $88m over a five-year period.

Those who were surprised that Prime Minster Anthony Albanese backed the ACT Government’s push to compulsorily acquire Calvary Hospital haven’t been paying attention.

Ideological decisions regarding the provision of healthcare aren’t limited to the ACT Government.

Looking at the latest report to come out of the Australian Senate, it is clear they are the modus operandi for the Commonwealth as well.

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On Thursday, the Senate standing committee on community affairs released its report into universal access to reproductive healthcare.

“Reproduction” usually means “generating new members of the species,” but the Senate report was largely about avoiding procreation altogether, either through contraception or abortion.

Its recommendations were significantly weighted towards the prevention of pregnancy or its termination, rather than bringing it to completion.

Again, we shouldn’t be surprised. Now that we have redefined marriage and what it means to be a man or woman, a redefinition of reproduction was the next logical step.

About a quarter of the report was dedicated to recommendations to make contraception cheaper, less regulated and longer-lasting.

That means taxpayer-funded subsidies for contraceptives, a review of the approval process from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and promotion for long-acting, reversible contraceptive devices such as IUDs and hormonal implants.

The report also noted that if women who don’t contracept or who take the pill could be put on long-lasting reversible contraception, the Federal Government would save $88m over a five-year period.

It’s another example of how, without fail, reproductive “choice” makes or saves money for the government, abortion or IVF providers at the expense of women.

The report made several recommendations related to abortion, including that all public hospitals should provide both maternity services and surgical abortions, or at least provide pathways to affordable, local providers for these.

In other words, Catholic-run public hospitals (like Calvary) should be forced to provide abortions or at least refer women to doctors who will.

In a report about reproductive choices that ran for more than 100 pages, only eight paragraphs mentioned reproductive coercion. There was no mention of the link between pregnancy, abortion and domestic violence.
In a report about reproductive choices that ran for more than 100 pages, only eight paragraphs mentioned reproductive coercion. There was no mention of the link between pregnancy, abortion and domestic violence.

For all the outrage over what the ACT Government has done in recent weeks, it seems that they are just getting a head start on the federal recommendations.

In April, the ACT Government began providing free abortions and long-term contraceptives and have now moved to take over the Catholic-run, public hospital that was committed to life.

That’s exactly what will happen across the nation if these recommendations are accepted by government and implemented.

It wasn’t only the recommendations that were problematic. The report was also notable for what it didn’t say.

In a report about reproductive choices that ran for more than 100 pages, only eight paragraphs mentioned reproductive coercion. There was no mention of the link between pregnancy, abortion and domestic violence.

This is despite broad agreement from pro-life and pro-abortion groups that women are sometimes coerced into pregnancy and/or abortion, and that the first instance of domestic violence frequently occurs after a woman falls pregnant.

A 2022 study from the University of Queensland finding that almost 50 per cent of women who reached out to pro-abortion group “Children by Choice” were seeking an abortion because of “exposure to intimate partner violence, family violence, reproductive coercion and other violence.”

Despite this, the sole recommendation to come out of the tokenistic treatment of coercion and violence was that the Australian Government commission research into the problem.

As all bureaucrats know, if you want to appear to be doing something while actually doing nothing, you commission a report.

More appropriate recommendations would be for abortion providers to be trained to detect signs of violence, to refer victims to support networks and mandatorily report any suspected criminal behaviour to appropriate authorities.

Governments should also use some of their “reproductive choice” budget to provide housing for pregnant women who face violence.

Last year, the Albanese Labor Government abandoned a previous policy that that threatened to link public funding of hospitals to abortion provision.

Let’s hope that despite their unwillingness to stand firm on Calvary Hospital, Labor will at least reject recommendations in this report that are of no real benefit to women.

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