abortion bill
A rally outside the New South Wales Parliament (Image: AAP/Joel Carratt)

Here's a guiding principle which has never failed me: in any public policy debate in which Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce participate, you can predict both the argument and its conclusion. And so it goes with abortion.

The abortion debate is a simple battle of conflicting moral beliefs: the absolute right of a human being to determine what happens to their body, versus the right of an unborn child to life. All human rights are contestable, but abortion generates so much particular heat due to its religious dimension; for the believers, compromise is out of the equation.