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MUCH of John Howard's success as a four-time winner of federal elections is his instinct for gauging Australia's political ethos.This is a skill state Liberal leaders lack.

Howard has applauded the improvement in our fertility rate and described us as living in a post-feminist era, where women's achievements are not measured solely by full-time participation in the workforce without children.

Howard's comments go completely over the heads of feminists such as Senator Natasha Stott Despoja and Eva Cox.

They have not heard of the European pension funds meltdown because of the "baby dearth".

Feminists' lack of logic is infuriating because it gives the rest of us women a bad name.

Consider their contortions over the funding for pregnancy counselling and their illogical focus on Tony Abbott's Catholicism.

Funding for pregnancy counselling was sanctioned by the Federal Government in the context of the RU486 debate -- a debate initiated by feminists -- in which all sides agreed that 100,000 abortions a year in Australia were too many.

To reduce this toll, the Government allocated $50 million for pregnancy counselling, and feminists are hopping mad because some of this is going to agencies such as the Catholic Church and the Caroline Chisholm Society.

These agencies provide counselling as well as services. I have not heard of any pro-choice counselling agency, or abortion clinic, providing services for women such as accommodation, baby clothes and equipment and care for other children.

This would enable women to choose to keep the baby rather than putting it out for adoption or aborting it.

"Counselling" is just a word unless backed with practical

help to deal with difficulties faced by pregnant women.

Then there is Senator Stott Despoja's illogical agitation because pro-life counselling agencies warn women of abortion hazards.

These risks include infertility, breast cancer and depression. The senator accuses pro-lifers of "frightening" women when such risks are listed on the consent forms of abortion clinics, which clients are required to sign.

DOES the senator hope women will sign their consent without reading

the forms?

Most unscientific is the objection by feminists to women seeing their fetuses on ultrasound because it would be "too emotional".

This is in spite of all other surgical procedures, X-rays and ultrasounds being made available to patients.

A report by abortion providers to the National Health and Medical Research Council recommended that the ultrasound screen, which is used to estimate gestational age, be turned away from the mother so she could not see her fetus. Mercifully, the NHMRC shredded this report.

And yet the abortion lobbyists have the gall to accuse the Catholic Church and pro-lifers of "bias" and "keeping women in the dark".

What are they are afraid of?

That if a woman sees her fetus on the screen, she might fall in love with the little guy or gal and reject abortion?

Pro-abortion feminists don't even provide personal help to women having abortions. Have they ever invited a woman who has had an abortion to stay with them for a week, until she recovers from the physical and emotional trauma of the operation?

Have they offered to pay the "gap" fee required by abortion clinics over and above the Medicare payment?

And have they offered to care for other children the woman may have while she deals with her problems?




BABETTE FRANCIS is co-ordinator of the Endeavour Forum, a counter- feminist, anti-abortion group



Member Organisation, World Council for Life and Family

NGO in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the UN