Letter to Editor 3 – Latham & Beattie 8/11/04
I would like to respond to both the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Mark Latham and to the Premier of Queensland, Mr Peter Beattie, who have recently voiced their positions on the current abortion debate.
To quote Mr Latham "It's not for politicians to get in the middle of doctors' consultation rooms.” And "What you need to do is recognise that people get themselves into a situation where women have got to make a choice, doctors have got to provide the medical advice and we should be respecting that."
Mr Beattie, in the Courier Mail of the 8th November made similar comments to the effect that it should be a women’s choice to have an abortion. Quoting the Courier Mail article: He said abortion was a matter between a woman and her doctor. "Abortion is a traumatic experience for any woman. It is not done lightly," Mr Beattie said. "I just think we need to be careful not to let some political obsession interfere with the rights of women."
All of us of pro-choice about where we live, what kind of car we drive, what religion we practice, etc., even when people choose beliefs and behaviour we don’t agree with. However, most of us are decidedly not pro-choice when it comes to murder, rape, armed robbery and child abuse.
When we oppose the right to choose rape or child abuse we aren’t opposing a right, we’re opposing a wrong. And we are not narrow-minded and bigoted for doing so. We’re just decent people concerned for the rights of the innocent. To be pro-choice about someone’s right to kill is to be anti-choice about someone else’s right to live.
With abortion, approximately 50% of the females involved get no choice at all as their lives are taken before birth.
As a result of the comments accredited to these men, I believe that most decent Australians should now consider that both these politicians have disqualified themselves from holding public office.
Please let me explain. No endorsement of any single issue qualifies a person to hold public office. Being pro-life does not make a person a good mayor, member of parliament, premier or prime-minister.
But there are numerous single issues that disqualify a person from public office. For example, any candidate who endorsed bribery as a form of government efficiency would be disqualified, no matter what his party or platform was.
Or a person who endorsed corporate fraud would be disqualified no matter what else he endorsed. Or a person who said that no aborigines or indigenous people could hold office—on that single issue alone he would be unfit for office.
Or a person who said that rape is only a misdemeanour—that single issue would probably end his political career. These examples could go on and on. Everybody knows a single issue that for them would disqualify a candidate for office.
We all need to decide what issues would disqualify a politician from holding public office. I believe that the endorsement of the right to kill unborn children disqualifies a person from any position of public office. It's simply the same as saying that the endorsement of racism, fraud, or bribery would disqualify him—except that child-killing is more serious than those.
Reflecting on the comments of these two men have confirmed my conviction never to vote for a person who endorses such an evil—even if he could balance the budget tomorrow and end all taxation.