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During October, the gender and reproductive health unit of the federal Department of Health held consultations in major cities on a "new National Women's Health Policy". The Melbourne consultation was at the Windsor Hotel. It was all very gracious - we were seated at tables in groups of 10, and a healthy lunch was provided with fruit for dessert, and no cakes or pastries.

However, a revealing incident towards the end of the consultation rather spoilt the ambience of the occasion. One of the attendees - the only man present - made a verbal submission on how natural family planning achieved a higher success rate at lower cost for sub-fertile women who wished to have babies, compared to the lower success rate at much higher cost achieved by IVF procedures.

A radical feminist at an adjoining table leapt to her feet and interrupted him declaiming that she was sick of the Right to Life with its religious agenda. The chairwoman did not rule her out of order and did not allow the man to finish his presentation. She claimed it was because time had run out, but we felt he should have been allowed to finish as he had been unfairly interrupted.

The interjector was illogical as the man was not a member of Right to Life, was not speaking on its behalf, nor was there anything religious about his presentation. He was statistically comparing success rates and costs of two methods of achieving pregnancy and a live baby.

The interjector not only demonstrated the lack of logic for which radical feminists are famous when dealing with scientific data that does not support their agenda (e.g., insisting at one and the same time that men and women are the same but women have more empathy, better communication skills, etc.); but she was also exhibiting the rage which grips radical feminists when any wholesome suggestion is made in regard to reproductive health.

As the focus of the Rudd Government's "new" health policy is on "prevention", representatives of my Endeavour Forum and I did our best to have recorded the physical and psychological risks faced by women who have abortions.

As the deadline for submissions was November 20, we believe it is important for concerned citizens to follow up these submissions by writing directly to Health Minister Nicola Roxon, at Parliament House, Canberra, asking her why women are not given information on which to make an informed choice.

Listed in the blue box on this page are medical references we provided in our submission, including:

  1. Two recent studies showing an increased risk of breast cancer caused by induced abortion (which add to 28 other studies dating back to 1957 also showing this increased risk).
  2. Three studies showing the increased risk of premature birth in subsequent pregnancies which can be associated with cerebral palsy for the hapless infants. (The NSW case of [Kristy] Bruce v Kaye, NSW Supreme Court, April 2004, was a sad example of a cerebral palsy case caused by a prior abortion, litigated in Sydney).
  3. Yet another study of mental health problems following induced abortion. This is the third study by Professor David M. Fergusson of New Zealand, who, significantly, is an atheist and "pro-choice", so cannot be categorised as a religious fundamentalist or a right-to-lifer.

This new study by researchers at the University of Otago indicates that 85 per cent of women who had abortions reported negative mental health outcomes as a result. The authors concluded that anywhere from 1.5 to 5.5 per cent of all mental health disorders in New Zealand result from women having had abortions. Fergusson and his team assert that there is little justification for claiming that legal abortions should be promoted on the basis of improving a woman's mental health.

Babette Francis, B.Sc. (Hons) is co-ordinator of Endeavour Forum Inc.



Member Organisation, World Council for Life and Family

NGO in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the UN