Yesterday NSW’s craziest Christian MP, Fred Nile, announced that he plans to make another push for restrictions on women’s reproductive rights. Nile’s been campaigning for foetal rights for some time, but he now holds the balance of power in NSW, and his deluded views pose a real danger to women in that state.

Nile wants foetal personhood from 20 weeks, meaning someone who kills, injures or potentially aborts a foetus of 20-weeks’ gestation or more can be charged with murder or manslaughter. He also wants women who seek an abortion “to undergo counselling and to view an ultrasound of their unborn child”.

His views are not only offensive, they are uneducated.

Women who have abortions in NSW already undergo counselling — required by law — and have an ultrasound (viewable on a screen in front of them, should they wish to look at it). Is Nile planning to legislate that they must open their eyes throughout the procedure? How will this be enforced, and to what end?

As well, women who have late-term abortions do so for serious medical reasons. As the late American humourist Molly Ivins so succinctly put it:

“No woman who is seven months pregnant ever waddles past an abortion clinic and says ‘Darn, I knew there was something I’ve been meaning to get around to’. This is ridiculous. You have those late-term abortions because either the mother is going to die, the child is going to die, or both are going to die’.

Women who have abortions don’t need to be forced to think about the consequences of their actions — the act of having an abortion already provides plenty of opportunities to confront those.

Here at Crikey we’re praying that NSW Premier Mike Baird has the spine to shut this ideologue down, no matter how good the offer that’s on the table.

Peter Fray

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