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In Newcastle this week, religion once again raised its ugly head in an area which should be free of Dogma, and religious rules that should be relics.

Cancer patients undergoing trials of a new cancer treatment at Newcastle’s Calvary Mater Hospital, are not allowed to be told by hospital staff, that contraception is recommended by the drug manufacturer.

This is due to the hospital being Catholic, and the Church being prehistoric. Hence a Catholic organisation cannot be seen to be promoting something as crucial as contraception in this situation, after all, the Pope would know better than the drug manufacturer….

The risks are so severe in fact, that the manufacturer of the drug, Celgene, suggests that even men who have had a vasectomy use a condom, as the side effects on a foetus are so hideously severe, that the drug company believes no risk is too small to be ignored. But alas, the church knows better, and ignores these risks. This is also the same church that is opposed to the terminations of pregnancies under all circumstances, including fetuses with major medical problems. Even if those problems are brought on by the churches negligence, by not allowing their doctors to give adequate advice, or by completely ignoring advice of drug companies.

Perhaps we should make all these religious medical (and I use the term loosely) facilities easily distinguishable so the public can avoid them. Architecture such as that below will be quite apt.

Yes, I know that may seem a bit extreme. However, you may not think that way if you were given bad news about your unborn child due to church imposing it’s beliefs on you, in the most reckless and irresponsible of ways.

The only thing that is worse than a prehistoric religion limiting your options, is a political party taking your options away.

We currently have a Coalition in opposition that has already done this.

The Coalition, is not just made up of the Liberal and National parties, there are a host of other parties that make up this motley crew of religious stalwarts and climate change deniers. People often forget this.

However, forgetting the other parties, as I have discussed this issue in other blogs, let’s look at the leader of this Coalition, the one known as the “Mad Monk” Tony Abbott, and also look at one of his decisions.

Back in 2005 when John Howard was in the Lodge, Chaplains were headed for our schools, and Prime Ministers and Treasurers gave speeches at Hillsong, Tony Abbott was our Health Minister.

Under highly unusual circumstances, the decision on whether or not a drug was to be made legal was placed in the hands of politicians rather than medical experts. The drug in question was called Mifepristone, but was better known as RU486, or the abortion pill.

This drug was already in use in 33 other countries including the US, Britain, New Zealand, France, and Sweden. You know, countries that are a little more open-minded, or dare I say it, a little more liberal in their beliefs.

Was this decision based on the advice of medical professionals? Clearly not it would seem, as all of the other 33 countries had the drug approved by the pharmaceutical boards made up of qualified medical professionals. Boards of proffessional like the ones Tony Abbott chose to ignore.

If it wasn’t the facts that brought Mr Abbott’s decision about, then what was it?

Tony Abbott is in fact a devout Catholic, and has often publicly stated his opposition to abortion. The Liberal Party is rapidly becoming a party with way to many close ties to religion, and religious extremists. Whether the influence is from members within their own party, or the members of religious parties that make up the coalition, or other religious parties that they rely on for preferences, makes little difference. The connection is too close for comfort.

So who gave the coalition of the arrogant, the right to deprive us the choices enjoyed by other nations? It seems we did, we were silly enough to think that they wouldn’t impose their morals on us. Maybe so, but we do have decent memories though I hope.

As for the morality of the decision. Mr Abbott may feel comfortable telling a 13 year old rape victim, that she needs to go through the emotional trauma and physical pain of an abortion, or give birth and give the child up for adoption, or maybe keep the child as a permanent reminder of her assault. Plus tell her that she needs to do this because the morals of an old man sitting on a throne in Rome have determined she should suffer like this, whilst at the same time allowing paedophiles’ like those who raped her, to be moved around to escape persecution, because they are ministers of his church.

Punch “abortion counselling Australia” into the search engine on Google, and you will see 2,480,000 results appear.

I am not going to try to tell you that I have had personal experience with abortion. But I don’t think it takes Einstein to understand that the swallowing of a pill is far less traumatic than the other options. Isn’t it the role of a doctor to try to reduce the need for surgery?

A study in Europe that monitored patients for a total of 13 years, found that women after the trauma of a surgical abortion were 248% more likely to commit suicide in the 12 months following their abortion. This number could be drastically reduced by the use of a pill.

How many lives could have been saved in Australia, had Tony Abbott’s religious views not come into play? I guess we will never know as no study has been done. And whilst we cannot blame Mr Abbott for any specific suicide, it is easy to see the connection. Mr Abbott may not have pulled the trigger, but he certainly handed these victims the gun and loaded it for them.

We need to be extremely careful when it comes to mixing our politics with religion.

You may think I present an extreme view, and hey, maybe I do. But remember it’s not just an abortion pill in question. Stem cell research is another political hot potato due to religious lobby groups, as is euthanasia, and what could be more personal than determining the dignity of your own death? Nothing I can think of. When it comes to how I die if I should ever find myself in tragic circumstances, I want to be able to rely on a loved one to pass on my wishes. Not rely on the immoral beliefs of some church or politician.

Let’s hope we don’t let one of the many religions who don’t allow blood transfusions gain any control. That would make life tough for the Red Cross.

All you need to remember, if you don’t want to be dictated to when it comes to your health, is that a vote for the Liberal Party, or The Coalition parties, is a vote for religious extremism.

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3 thoughts on “Pills, Popes And Politics…

  1. again if you are being treated at a catholic hospital you should realize that they can set their own rules. they aren’t obligated to recommend contraception, they aren’t obligated to recommend the drug at all. on the issue of surgical abortion, suicide isn’t caused by the abortion, the women have a choice whether to keep or abort, same as they have the choice to live or die, just because you say that surgical abortion is a more traumatic experience doesn’t mean that it will have any less effect on the woman who’s pregnancy you’ve just terminated, the pill RU-486 isn’t without traumatic experiences either, the sudden change in hormones from the end of a pregnancy, whether carried to term or not, can often cause depression, that’s why it’s important for a would be mother to seek counselling both before and after her pregnancy whether it is carried to term or not.

  2. Thanks Dom,
    My theory is that when it comes to medical treatment, there shouldn’t be a seperate set of rules, only what is best for the patient, and that patient should have all the options put in front of them.
    I realise that taking the pill RU486 isn’t without trauma, but the level of trauma compared to invasive surgery is negligable.
    I do agree though, that counselling is the most important step, as long as that counselling does not come with a side order of judgement thrown in.
    Thanks for the feedback 🙂

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