The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'abortion'

2006/2/9

The Australian Senate has voted to legalise the RU486 abortion pill. Up until now, the conservative pro-life state required applications to receive the pill to be personally approved by the Health Minister (conservative Catholic Tony Abbott), which effectively banned it. The Senate vote was a conscience vote (which is not that common; most votes in Australia's Federal Parliament are strictly whipped along party lines, more so than in Britain), and passed 45 to 28.

The battle's not over; the vote in the House of Representatives is still pending, and it is expected that Representatives will pay more heed to conservative religious groups. The Religious Right certainly aren't holding back on the pressure. Meanwhile, you can contact your MP about the issue here.

(via datakid23) abortion australia contraception ru486 0

2005/9/1

As expected, America's religiots are making hay of Hurricane Katrina. A "pro-life" group claims that the hurricane is God's wrath on America for allowing abortion, taking as their proof the fact that the hurricane looked vaguely foetus-like in some satellite images. And an evangelical Christian group is claiming that God sent the hurricane to stop a gay festival due to take place in New Orleans. Meanwhile, holy man Rev. Fred Phelps has his predictable hate-on over recent events; you can almost feel the spittle flying from the screen as he calls the faithful to pray for more dead bodies floating on the santorum-rancid waters of New Orleans, not to mention for US soldiers to be killed in Iraq because America is an "evil fag nation".

Soon, I imagine, statements will appear on at least two Islamist websites from hitherto-unknown al-Qaeda franchises claiming responsibility for this daring strike into the very heart of the Zionist-Crusader Infidel.

(via chuck_lw) abortion gay hate religiots usa 5

2005/4/14

In the U.S., a small minority of pharmacists are refusing to sell birth-control pills to women, sometimes even confiscating their prescriptions, on "moral grounds". State legislatures are divided between outlawing such actions and enshrining them in law:

At a Brooks pharmacy in Laconia, New Hampshire, Suzanne Richards, a 21-year-old single mother with a 3-year-old son, was denied the morning after pill because of the pharmacist's religious convictions.
Richards says she felt "humiliated and traumatised", and was too frightened to approach another pharmacist the next day, allowing the 72-hour limit for taking the pill to pass.

One can understand people getting squeamish about the abortion of developed foetuses with nervous systems and such, but refusing to sell morning-after pills is just stupid. For one, it ignores the fact that between 60% and 80% of fertilised embryos are naturally spontaneously aborted, in much the same way that the morning-after pill would do (an argument which, when combined with pro-lifer ideology and a dose of logic, implies that much of the population of Heaven would be comprised of never-born embryos). This is clearly not about saving lives but rather about assertion of power; the Religious Right flexing its muscle and seeing how much it can get away with in Bush's America.

abortion authoritarianism human rights religion religiots vigilantism 0

2005/1/13

Between 60% and 80% of all naturally conceived embryos are spontaneously aborted without the woman or her partner ever knowing that they existed. The US Religious Right argue that every conceived embryo is, in moral terms, a human being, and, theologically speaking, has a soul. From this it follows that at least 40% of the population of Heaven are the souls of embryos that never experienced life: (via jwz)

Stepping onto dangerous theological ground, it seems that if human embryos consisting of one hundred cells or less are the moral equivalents of a normal adult, then religious believers must accept that such embryos share all of the attributes of a human being, including the possession of an immortal soul. So even if we generously exclude all of the naturally conceived abnormal embryospresuming, for the sake of theological argument, that imperfections in their gene expression have somehow blocked the installation of a soulthat would still mean that perhaps 40 percent of all the residents of Heaven were never born, never developed brains, and never had thoughts, emotions, experiences, hopes, dreams, or desires.

That's assuming that they go to Heaven; according to Dante, the unbaptised would go to Limbo, the uppermost circle of Hell, where they would mix with virtuous heathens.

(This conjures up all sorts of surreal questions and fictional scenarios, such as what relations between the two groups in Heavenly society. Would the embryos see themselves as purer than or superior to than the immigrants, sullied by the sinful world? Would the born-and-died be marginalised as second-class citizens, or form a culture of resentment of the establishment? Presumably Heaven is defined as an enlightened autocracy, ruled by an all-wise and benevolent God with vast bureaucracies and military orders of angels, who would keep the peace somehow. Though, if we transpose this to Philip Pullman's Republic of Heaven, would the Pure and the Dead have separate political parties bitterly contesting their interests in the Heavenly Parliament; or perhaps Heaven would be a fascist state run by the Pure?)

abortion afterlife biology dante eschatology heaven reductio ad absurdum religion theology 4

2005/1/12

A new bill in the US state of Virginia's legislature will require women to report miscarriages to the police within 12 hours, or else face up to 12 months in prison.

abortion authoritarianism patriarchy usa women 1

2004/10/10

Australia has made its choice, the Tories have been reelected with an increased majority, and look like gaining control of the Senate as well (current predictions show them set to have half the Senate in their own right, with a Family First senator giving them a majority, in return for a religious conservative legislative agenda). The Greens did well, but, with Labor having collapsed under them, they will be unable to do much with all their Senate seats. So, what can we expect in the next three years?

For one, we're likely to see a stepping up of the culture war. The election has shown that Australia is polarised, between a small, cosmopolitanist minority in the inner cities who voted Green, and the majority of Herald-Sun-reading suburban battlers who back Howard. Given the acrimony before the election (other parties directing preferences away from the Greens as if they were One Nation, and scare ads about the Greens standing for drugs and paedophilia), and the Family First factor, the prospects of a new, triumphant Howard government waving the olive branch of inclusion seems unlikely. What seems more likely is that the boot will come down hard, and the culture war will become uglier, dirtier and more brutal, with the full weight of a completely controlled legislative apparatus being used to instill "Australian" values and punish the deviants who resist them.

What will this entail? For one, more censorship. Under Howard, Australia had already become quite a censorious society (witness the banning of Baise-Moi in the cinemas a few years ago), and will do so even more as Family First push for children and adults to be protected from filth. Expect more controversial films to be denied classification, or film distributors to even stop bothering trying to get a rating for anything controversial in Australia, while many films which are shown will only be shown in expurgated editions. More internet censorship is on the cards. Family First proposed a national censorship infrastructure, like Singapore's, funded by a $10 annual levy on each user; it is not unlikely that the Howard government will borrow this idea. After all, the current censorship arrangement (as secretive and undemocratic as it is) still doesn't stop children from viewing filth at a few mouse clicks (as any tabloid journalist will be happy to demonstrate). And national censorship infrastructures have been shown to be workable; Singapore, China and Saudi Arabia have them, and Britain now also has infrastructure in place to block web sites (it is presently used to block a few child pornography web sites, but could be pressed into service to block the next equivalent of Spycatcher or David Shayler at the drop of a D-notice, but I digress). Some in the Liberal Party even suggested, some years ago, blocking all adult content from the mainstream internet, requiring those perverted enough to look at such content to register for access through a special proxy server. Registration would, presumably, limit one's career prospects in certain industries, just in case your Suicide Girls habit made you into a kiddie diddler.

With Australia's new family-friendly cinemas and internet, the country's reputation as a modern, cosmopolitan society will suffer. Film and arts festivals will lose any edge they had, attracting little in the way of anything controversial but instead presenting only comforting banalities. Sydney and Melbourne will once again give up their claim to be world cultural capitals and fall back to being big provincial towns. And don't expect anything like Piss Christ being exhibited in an Australian gallery; chances are, Andres Serrano wouldn't even get a visa. Welcome to relaxed and comfortable Australia, where decent people needn't fear having their sensibilities offended.

Other consequences of the Culture War could be loss of reproductive choice (current health minister Tony Abbott mentioned his opposition to abortion, and with Family First's new influence, it could be banned or restricted), institutionalised discrimination against homosexuals (they are, after all, deviants who have no place in Howard's idealised 1950s suburbia), continuing denial of indigenous rights, not to mention a policy of pure spite towards refugees.

And then there is the US-Australian Free Trade Agreement, in which Australia signed over vast swathes of economic sovereignty to the US in return for access to US markets for its sugar industry, only to find out that that wasn't part of the deal, but pressed on anyway out of loyalty. Since we're adopting wholesale the US software patent system, we can expect small Australian software companies to go out of business, unable to risk the cost of patent litigation, or be bought out en masse by multinationals with patent portfolios and cross-licensing agreements. Within a few years, the Australian industry will be little more than a branch office of US multinationals. Open source may not escape unscathed; given the broadness of software patents, anything without a multinational with a huge legal department behind it will be too much of a risk for anybody to use, distribute or support. And then there's our adoption of US copyright laws without actually having a Constitutional fair use provision, as the US does, which means that anyone with an iPod is committing a crime.

If there's one good thing that may come out of the new, repressive, paternalist Australia, it is the prospect of an underground culture flourishing in pockets of resistance. After all, it was the roiling undercurrents of resentment in Thatcher's Britain that gave us everything from alternative comedy to the explosion of British indie music and art. (Not that the Thatcherites took their credit for that happening on their watch; they were too busy promoting their view of proper British culture in the form of Lloyd-Webber musicals and insipid Merchant-Ivory costume dramas and the like, their own equivalent of "Relaxed and Comfortable".)

abortion australia authoritarianism censorship conformism culture war wowsers 7

2002/2/11

The World's Oldest Multinational Corporation: A Catholic high school in Pennsylvania has awarded students extra credit for picketing an abortion clinic. More than 50 students of a religion class earned extra credit for picketing outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. The clinic also offers counselling, cancer screenings and contraceptives.

abortion catholic 0

2001/3/30

Abortion clinic sniper arrested in France; he went into hiding in Ireland, doing "clerical work" (would that involve proselytising his religion and recruiting converts?), but fled there after Irish police started closing in. How much do you want to bet that he's just a disposable soldier, and that the organisation that trained him, provided him with papers and kept him hidden still exists and has others willing to take his place. (That anti-abortion hitlist website was updated awfully quickly.)

abortion christianity crime religiots terrorism 0

2000/10/26

A somewhat psychoceramic religious extremist group has seemingly not been too happy with the heathens poking fun at them, and has decided to fight back. The source of this page on the evils of teen pop bands contains this interesting JavaScript fragment:

var redirectto = "http://abortiontv.com/AbortionPictures1.htm";
var refusedfrom = "http://www.landoverbaptist.org/news0200/backstreet.html"; // required prev. page
if (document.referrer.indexOf(refusedfrom) != -1) {
alert("Access ot this page is forbidden from Landover Baptist");
window.location=redirectto;
}

That really says a lot about fundamentalist psychology; in particular their favour of psychological impact and manipulation over reason.

abortion javascript landover baptist religiots 0

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