Pro-choice or no choice?

Unless a woman’s health is endangered, abortion is illegal in the state of Victoria. The government is about to change that. But everyone don’t agree. Last week pro-life and pro-choice organizations demonstrated outside parliament to convince the government of considering their opinions.

On their website Pro-life Victoria encourage people to contact MPs and . The organizations also list a few arguments why abortion shouldn’t be legalized.

Pro-life mean that the government only want to redefine abortion from an act of crime to a “health procedure”.”What is healthy about killing small babies and ruining their mother’s lives?”.

Dr Chris Bayly and colleagues writes in the Age about the procedure of an abortion and what legalizing it would mean to women.

A woman go through medical, physical and social consultation depending on her own condition before having an abortion. So it has been, and so will it continue being.

Legalizing it wouldn’t make abortion easier. But it would fasten the process, which means that the abortion can be made at an early stage. Although the routine of getting at least two medical opinions if the abortion is to be made after 24 weeks will remain. Sometimes will that be required even earlier in the pregnancy.

Dr Bayly says that women too often have abortions later than they need because of false information from anti-choice practitioners. As abortion can be emotionally demanding even for professionals Dr Bayly points out the importance of the part of the Bill that says women should be offered consultations with an objective health professional.

“The Women’s Hospital provides abortion service because the clinical evidence is clear that it is important for women’s health and well-being.”

Pro-Life Victoria questions what’s healthy about killing small babies and ruin their mothers’ lives. As been pointed out above an abortion is emotional and difficult to go through for everyone involved. Although in some situations that is the last resort. Why should women that’s taken the decision of having an abortion be punished even harder? Isn’t it difficult enough to know that taking care of the baby one is carrying isn’t an option?

The world is full of orphans in need of a carer. Why not focus on giving children that have already been born a descent life, instead of making life miserable for them who have chosen not to give birth to a baby they can’t take care of – and actually have the option to do so. Women in the third world usually don’t have this option. Let us start with caring about humanes that have already been brought into this world.

Sarah Palin – cover girl of the week

Last week, on August 29, John McCain announced his vice-president candidate – Alaska governor Sarah Palin. The former beauty queen was born in Idaho and raised in what is still her home state. She is young, approximately 30 years younger than the leader of her party, has five children – one of which is a baby with Down’s syndrome, another a five-months-pregnant 17-year old. And yes, the girl’s planning to marry the boy that made her pregnant.

This hockey mom is a “dedicated foe of abortional rights and was between 1996 and 2002 the mayor of the suburb of Wasilla. In 2006 she became the state’s governor.

She was chairwoman at Alaska Oil and Gas Conversations Commission from 2003 to 2004 and is a supporter of the oil industry. Her National Rifle Association (NRA) membership comes as part of the image.

During the week that’s passed since McCain’s announcement she has answered questions about how governing a family of five children can be combined with a career as a top politician. She has proclaimed the rumours about her 17-year old daughter’s pregnancy and decision to become a mother. Towards the end of the week she had to defend herself from accusations of having had an extramarital affair.

“The smearing of the Palin family must end,” said Republican spokesman Steve Schmidt.

He is right. Palin is aiming to become the vice president of the United States and deserves to be treated as a professional politician more than a wife, a mother or a beauty queen.

Although I find the topics on her agenda completely dreadful, media’s handling of the case Palin is low and unprofessional.

Not the least because of the fact the best way to ensure she won’t bring her topics anywhere near the white house is to make sure that’s what people will know about. Her hockey mom image is not threatening to humane values as long as it stays on the rink side, but if she gets power in her hands to make other people follow her example – at least I will feel threatened.

Bowling for Comlumbine or Bullet for Harrold?

Columbine High School is known to people as where two boys shot 12 students and one teacher dead, and wounded 23. After Michael Moore’s blockbuster documentary Bowling for Columbine came out three years after the massacre, the tragical story of the little Colorado town became even more famous.

“We’ve had a disturbing trend of school shootings in the US. It’s my belief this is caused by making schools gun-free zones.”

As it seems, David Thweatt superintendent at a school in Harrold Texas, knows why such things happens.

He has decided that when the semester begins teachers at his school will be permitted to carry weapons when being on duty in the classroom. Teachers who wish to carry a weapon to be able to protect themselves and the children from uninvited guests will need a license and go through crisis training.

“‘We have a lock-down situation, we have cameras, but the question we have to answer is, What if somebody gets in? What are we going to do?’ he said ‘It’sjust common sense.'”

In Thweatt’s mind it’s common sense to carry a weapon to make sure of personal safety in case of an emergency. The fact that the nearest police station is a 30-minute drive away is a big concern. The other aspect is that the school is located right next to a busy highway. And who would know what lunatics are travelling on that highway?

“How long do you think it would take to kill all 150 of us? It would be a bloodbath.”

Yes, David it probably would. If someone have a gun in the car, feel like killing around 150 children and teachers and then just happens to be driving on that particular highway that goes pass David Thweatt’s school.

“I’d much rather be calling a parent to tell them that their child is OK because we were able to protect them.”

Of course you do David. Who wouldn’t. Nobody would want to make that other phone call.

According to Reuters the Harrod school is the first US school to allow their staff to carry weapons. However, readers have commented on a UK Telegraph article on the subject and pointed out that that’s wrong. The State of Utah “has long had this same law”. And it hasn’t resulted in a single gunfight says this writer.

“When you have good guys with guns, the bad guys do less damage”, says Thweatt, and, “The naysayers think (a shooting) won’t happen here”.

So, apparently it’s naive not to be prepared for a catastrophe like a school shooting – because it could happen just anywhere. Only make sure that reliable people also have weapons.

Should every teacher in every school around the US carry a weapon? Or only a few at every school? Or only teachers in schools very far from a police station? I believe that someone with similar purpose to the Columbine boys’ wouldn’t be put of by a few armed teachers. They would be planning to die anyway.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has over 1.4 million members. That’s quite an armed force. The AFT, on the other hand, are working on introducing a policy of expelling pupils that take weapons to school.

American teachers don’t seem to agree about whether weapons in schools is a good thing or not. Although it’s understandable that a group of 1.4 million people consist of 1.4 million individual with diferent opinions.

However, I can’t accept that the western ‘civilized’ part of the world would need to take such actions. My mind tells me that weapons and children need to be kept as far away from each other as possible. Letting weapons become a natural part in children’s lives is to me completely insane.

“When you have good guys with guns, the bad guys do less damage” is not common sense to me, as it is to David Thweatt. Good guys don’t have guns. Bad guys have guns. If the bad guys force the good guys to become bad guys too, there won’t be any good guys left. Let us not find out what that would be like.

Students’ small steps stem climate damage

The communal kitchen in my college flat has three rubbish bins, of which two are of a smaller size and one larger. Above the two smaller bins signs have been put up to clear out what is supposed to go in the bin and what isn’t. One sign for each bin.

Both signs have the prominent heading “Recycling”. On the left sign it continues: “Paper and Cardboard” and a bit further down it says “Please flatten all boxes and cartons”. The simple, but well functioning, print out also has pictures of cardboard boxes and newspapers to emphasize the message and clarify to university students what to chuck in what particular bin. On recycling sign number two is written “plastic bottles, tin cans, drink bottles, wine bottles, beer bottles, plastic containers”.

In all the bins, however, people have chucked cardboard boxes, beer bottles, egg shells, plastic bags, spounges, left over food, tea bags, youghurt containers and newspapers. Stuff that usually goes in bins. Unfortunately there are all sorts of rubbish in all three bins. For some reason the very neat and polite message on the signs doesn’t seem to have got through to most students. Even though they have pictures.

The cleaner comes every morning and empties the bins so that students don’t even need to bother carrying their rubbish down the stairs where the dustmen will pick it up.

On the 28th of July Adam Morton wrote in the Age about how “Small steps can reduce climate damage”. His discussion is primarly about climate change and what sacrifices it takes to actually prevent it from happening. Or, in fact, stop what is already happening. In the second paragraph Adam Morton points out that polls have shown that people “want action to stem global warming and are prepared to make sacrifices to get it”.

Further, he states the fact that “there is plenty that can be done on a local level that is being ignored”.

I agree. There is definitely plenty that can be done on a local level. But that people should be prepared to make sacrifices to save the planet, I sincerely doubt. Quite a few are, but not enough.

Seeing young, intelligent people that are simply too lazy to be bothered frankly, pisses me off. Recycling is a way of saving energy and in the long run that is a way of prevent global warming. It’s one of the small steps that Adam Morton writes about in his article. My floor mates are not even prepared to make such a minor sacrifice.

Where I come from the system looks a little different. People put what is to be recycled in one bin and what isn’t in another. When the kitchen bins are full you’ll have to take your trash to the closest recycling station (which hopefully is in walking distance) and put cardboard in the cardboard bin, newspapers in the newspaper bin, metal in the metal bin…

Nobody will make the effort here either. But my point is that for me and my floor mates it’s just so easy. And still, the majority don’t make the effort it takes.

I don’t know if it’s true that human being are lazy by nature, but my experiences tell me that that’s a fact. That people “want action to stem global warming and are prepared to make sacrifices to get it” is probably true, but it won’t happen as long as we’re too lazy to take the “small steps [that] can reduce climate damage”.

Humanists – the new feminists?

A women’s movements activist recently proclaimed that instead of using the term feminist she will continuously be calling herself a humanist.

Most people today would agree with that men and women deserve equal rights and presumptions. To be of the opinion that women should focus on domesticity instead of having jobs has been passé for decades. Despite this many people wouldn’t call themselves feminists.

A feminist is someone who supports equal rights for women and men – from a woman’s point of view. A feminist is with very few exceptions, as Sushi Das writes in The Age – a woman.

The women’s movement is in need of a change and I believe introducing the term humanist as an alternative to feminist is a change that actually could matter. It is a way to attract people that are sceptical about the word feminist. The concept of humanism is including rather than excluding.

If more men would engage in feministic issues, there would probably also be more issues on this subject on the agenda. Feministic topics would become less only women’s concern and more a concern to everyone.

The world has faced many humane movements over the years. People have always been and will also in the future be fighting to beat injustice. This is a long-term and serious approach to feminism and views on gender equality.

There is still a long way to go and more people need to devote themselves to make a change. If more humanists would come along maybe potential feminists wouldn’t get scared off.

Although I can’t help feeling slightly bitter. Isn’t it just what you could expect – to persuade men to work for gender equality the actual feminist movement needs to transform and adjust to what could possibly, to some extent, attract a few men.

Feminist? Anyone?

Feminist? Anyone?



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