August 28th 2004


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The Olympics return to Athens ...

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Mark Latham caves in on free trade deal

MARRIAGE ACT: Major triumph for marriage in Australia

FAMILY: Hard-won victory on Marriage Amendment Bill

YOUTH: X and Y generations suffer intergenerational theft

POPULATION PART ONE: What abortion is costing Australia

POPULATION PART TWO: The economic cause of falling fertility

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Growing old disgracefully

FAMILY LAW: Dads bear the burden of proof

THE MEDIA: Mark Latham and Big Brother

CINEMA: FILM REVIEW - Gillo Pontecorvo's 'The Battle of Algiers'

Lies, damned lies and coathangers (letter)

John F. Kennedy's reputation (letter)

Sugar industry sold short (letter)

BOOKS: KOKODA, by Peter FitzSimons

BOOKS: HIS DARK MATERIALS: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman

2004 Fighting Fund launched

Books promotion page
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Lies, damned lies and coathangers (letter)


by Dr David van Gend

News Weekly, August 28, 2004
Sir,

Health Minister Tony Abbott has had a pile of coathangers, symbols of backyard abortion, dumped on him for daring to suggest we limit the killing of half-born premmie babies. Limit any abortions, the coathanger brigade says, and women will die in droves in the backyard, and it's Mr Abbott's fault.

This is hysterical blackmail, and a historical lie: whether women die has nothing to do with whether abortion is illegal.

All gains in maternal safety have been due to medical advances alone, with no detectable benefit from legislative changes. So while 100 women a year died of "backyard" abortion in the decades before antibiotics, the death rate plummeted to only one in 1969, before there was a single "safe, legal" clinic. The law was irrelevant. We still have one death every couple of years, but whether legal or illegal, abortion now carries reduced medical risks to mothers, thanks to medical advances.

This fact matters deeply to public debate, because it must be understood that we can limit abortion in some meaningful way without risking women's lives. So drop the deceitful coathangers, and join a serious discussion on limiting the killing of innocent babies.

Dr David van Gend
Toowoomba, Qld




























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