Helen Wilson found the 13 March Supreme Court hearing on the Right to Life vs. Abortion Supervisory Committee case a depressing waste of her time, and everyone else’s.
It was a frustrating experience sitting in court listening to lawyers do what they (must?) do. God! How much time was spent rustling endlessly through papers at the taxpayers’ expense. Particularly bad in the case of Right to Life’s lawyer. In my opinion, one could be forgiven for thinking he didn’t have a case at all but was hoping to drive everyone to distraction with his endless fingering for files, rooting for reports, and the murmuring of monstrous excuses for his failure to be at all organised. Or is this what court is always like? The women lawyers weren’t nearly so bad, but I didn’t stay long enough to confirm that.
As for the RTL case. I don’t know whether I am completely jaded because of the crap that is going down in America currently about abortion and contraception, or whether I really and truly have been fucked by Foucault, but somehow it was pretty depressing sitting there watching a bunch of mainly men ruminate (well hardly, but they did get into a bit of a discussion which really went nowhere) on the meaning of “danger” in its application to women’s lives. (Per the following grounds for abortion in the Crimes Act, 187A: “that the continuance of the pregnancy would result in serious danger — not being danger normally attendant upon childbirth — to the life, or to the physical or mental health, of the woman or girl”).
As anyone who has spent time trying to look at notions of risk and danger when it comes to human life and behaviour, this seems clearly a hopeless and unresolvable problem. That’s why we have people on parole who then end up committing further crimes. Someone on the parole board has had to make a decision about their risk/danger to society. And while there are no doubt flow charts and mathematical formulae to help these people, it is a seriously flawed process as we all know from the headlines in the paper.
So how can a doctor make a sensible (or medical, for that matter) decision based on the risk or danger to a woman’s life or physical or mental health if a pregnancy is continued? Impossible! Clearly the only person who can do that is the woman herself. On reflection the whole debate highlights the absurdity of the bloody abortion laws anyway. So that takes us back to a woman’s right to choose.