Maternity payment could make difference (letter)by Dr David van GendNews Weekly
, November 5, 2005
Maternity costs kick in early in pregnancy, and so should the maternity payment.
Health Minister Tony Abbott's proposal to pay part of the lump sum at 14 weeks is sensible and costs the taxpayer no extra. For the mother it means some money is available when it is needed to pay for maternity clothes, time off work with morning sickness and extra visits to the doctor. Obviously the cot and car capsule have to be bought before the baby is born, not after.
Yet Michelle Reeves of Campaign for Women's Reproductive Rights (CWRR) sees this constructive proposal as a threat to the abortion culture, "an outright attack on the woman's right to choose". She acknowledges that for some pregnant women this is "desperately needed money" but fears it could turn some women away from abortion (AAP
, October 16, 2005).
As a family doctor, I look after one young couple, for whom a few hundred dollars given to them early in pregnancy by a kindly relative made all the difference between despair and hope.
Given that that the Medical Journal of Australia
(vol. 163, no. 8, October 16, 1995) has reported financial pressure as the number one reason given for having an abortion, where is the harm in Government attempting to relieve this pressure?(Dr) David van Gend,