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Before  the last federal election there were seven Australian Democrat senators, but  in 2004 all three senators who came up for election lost - in WA, NSW and Qld - and none of the new AD senate candidates won.  The  four remaining  Democrat senators do not face the electorate until the next federal poll, but their prospects aren't bright.  Squeezed  from the left by the Greens and on the right by the ALP,  the Democrats occupy a narrowing  segment of the political spectrum.   

Faced with prospective demise, one would have thought  the Democrats would try to capture some of  "middle ground"  they were supposed to occupy, but they seem increasingly focussed on what Pope John Paul II  pithily described as 'the culture of death'.   

The Democrats have lobbied strenuously for the abortion drug RU-486 (also known as Mifepristone) to be made available to Australian women, seemingly unaware that  Italy's Health Minister Francesco Storace recently suspended Italy's trials of the drug because reports showed one in 20 women taking the  drug were having partial abortions at home followed by excessive bleeding. The  US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  also indicated five women  have   died from infections resulting from  mifepristone. 

The family of  Hoa Thuy Tran, a student  who died after using RU 486, has filed a lawsuit against Danco Laboratories, claiming  the company failed to disclose  the pills could cause infections leading to death and posed other risks.  

While the FDA is investigating  these deaths, Ralph P. Miech,  Professor Emeritus,  Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology at Brown University,  provided clear evidence that the drug causes conditions in which bacterial infections can flourish and cause  deadly septic shock.  He showed  the anti-progesterone effects of Mifepristone  cause changes in the cervix that allow C. sordellii, a common vaginal bacteria, to enter the cervical canal. C. sordellii  thrives in this low-oxygen environment and derives nutrition from  decaying fetal tissue (Annals of Pharmacotherapy, September 2005). 

The Australian Democrats have also lobbied enthusiastically for the right to euthanasia and assisted suicide.  Victorian Senator Allison's press release objected to the Federal government overturning the Northern Territory's right to die legislation, and Senator Brian Grieg objected to the Government's Bill to ban the distribution of information and materials to assist suicide. Fortunately the WA electorate terminated  Grieg's Senate tenure  in the 2004 elections. 

Recently we had Senator Stott-Despoja's abortive attempt to interpret  the United Nations Millenium Development Goal of abolishing poverty by introducing an Abortion  Bill  in the Senate, even though the  UN had made it clear that "reproductive rights" does not include abortion.   

 Senator Stott-Despoja  also objected to Health Minister Tony Abbott's suggestion that women considering abortion should have additional counselling  - I doubt she would object  to additional counselling for patients considering knee replacements, but apparently abortion is one kind of surgery different to all others, where "second opinions" - or even second thoughts - are undesirable.  This is   why the Democrats  want "bubble zones" around abortion clinics  to exclude those offering help to pregnant women.  

Stott-Despoja has also objected to pregnancy support services warning women about the risk of infertility following abortion,  though Planned Parenthood lists this risk on their consent form!   

Probably the final straw in the Democrats coffin is their objection to Minister Abbott's  suggestion that  some of  the baby bonus be paid at 14 weeks of pregnancy, not only at birth.  Sure, this might dissuade a few  women from having abortions (that's a bad  outcome?)  but what about the majority of mothers for whom the early payment  makes budgeting for baby equipment easier?   

Australian Democrats apparently only view pregnancy in terms of the opportunity to abort.  They would do better to knit some booties for Mary's baby, the new Prince of Denmark.  He doesn't need  booties but it might  save the Democrats from their self-assisted suicide by winning them some of the populist vote, and give  us  a topic  about which to smile.



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