It is difficult to determine if the bizarre Minister for the Coal Industry, Matt Canavan1 is a religious nutter who actually believes he should control women’s bodies, or is just a foaming at the mouth conservative, who stands against anything that is even vaguely progressive. One would presume that because of his initial uncertainty over his Italian citizenship, against which he used the Shane Warne defence (‘It was my Mum’)1, he is a good catholic boy. That seems to be why he was among the protesters marching through the streets of Brisbane in opposition to the proposed changes to abortion laws2.
Currently, in Queensland it is a crime for a woman or other person to attempt to procure a miscarriage3. The ‘Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018’ was introduced to the Queensland Parliament in August. Under this legislation, abortion would be available on request up to 22 weeks. After 22 weeks’ gestation, an abortion may only take place if the medical practitioner performing the abortion has consulted with a second medical practitioner and both agree the abortion should be performed. The circumstances under which this agreement would be forthcoming would include the woman’s current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances, as well as the professional standards and guidelines applying to medical practitioners. The bill also stipulates that an abortion may be performed after 22 weeks’ gestation if it is necessary to save the woman’s life or the life of another unborn child3.
Canavan addressed the protesters and spoke to reporters subsequently, stating that the proposed changes to the legislation “would be some of the most radical and extreme legislation of abortions in the world, and it would allow, effectively … unrestricted abortion after 22 weeks”. This was found by the RMIT-ABC Fact Check system to be what they politely call “baseless”3. This is what most people would call a lie.
The attitude of the religious that they deserve to be able to tell others how to live their lives, and indeed, end their lives, is bizarre in the extreme. It is something that is fortunately starting to dissipate, as people rebel against the straitjacket of religious bigotry and enforced conformity, whether it be via abortion law reform, voluntary euthanasia legislation, or same-sex marriage legislation. This jettisoning of all this superstructure of religious control will continue as the populace becomes more progressive and the knowledge of the depths of depravity to which the churches have sunk because of their unfettered power becomes more widespread. The reason this scares the bejesus out of the religious is that deep down, they know that religion is really about control, and that all this drivel about god and morality are just strategies to entrench that control. The sooner it ends, the better.