Pope no abortion, maybe to contraception over Zika

The Catholic Church and the Pope have strongly rejected abortion for women who have the Zika virus, but the  Pope has that avoiding pregnancy (using contraception) is ‘not an absolute evil’.

Crux (‘Covering all things Catholic’) reports Pope Francis signals openness to birth control for Zika virus.

In remarks to reporters on his way back to Rome from Mexico, the pope cited a decision by Pope Paul VI in the early 1960s to allow Catholic nuns in the Congo to take contraceptives to avoid pregnancy due to rape.

Avoiding a pregnancy under such circumstances, Francis said, “is not an absolute evil.” However, he did not say specifically that he would approve contraception in the fight against Zika.

Abortion is never the lesser evil, it’s a crime,” Francis said categorically. “It’s to discard one to save another one. It’s what Mafia does; it’s a crime, an absolute evil.”

Regarding the “lesser of two evils” when it comes to contraception, Francis said that it’s a fight between the 5th Commandment (Thou shalt not kill) and the 6th Commandment (Thou shalt not commit adultery). But he avoided giving a definitive response.

“Let’s not confuse the evil of ‘simply’ avoiding a pregnancy with abortion,” Francis said. “Abortion is not a theological problem, it’s a human, medical problem … a person is murdered to save another one, in the best of cases. In others, just to have fun.”

He called abortion an “absolute evil.”

While the current Pope has in some ways been a breath of fresh air in a stifling and stuff old world religious organisation openly supporting contraception as a protection is a modernisation too far.

The old fuddies are way out of touch on this.

Contraception is a major factor in limiting a world population explosion. It can also be an effective means of avoiding risky pregnancies.

I think it’s an absolute evil opposing and stigmatising abortion too. It’s a relic of religious patriarchy trying to control what individual women choose to do.

Contraception is widely used by many Catholics, with common sense overriding outmoded thinking.

And abortion is supported by Catholics outside the Vatican. From Wikipedia:

Abortion in Italy became legal in May 1978, when Italian women were allowed to terminate a pregnancy on request during the first 90 days. A proposal to repeal the law was considered in a 1981 national referendum, but was rejected by nearly 68% of voters; another referendum aimed at eliminating the restrictions was rejected by 88.4%.

About 80% of Italians identify as Catholic so this shows how out of touch the Vatican is with the real world around them, and how people just ignore their out of touch old rules.

One of the stupid things about the church’s stance is that sensible contraception reduces the demand for abortions.

While I prefer a minimum of abortions it’s not up to me. And in any case they can be a sensible decision.

It’s not uncommon for women to have abortions to improve the chances of having children in the best possible circumstances rather than in far from ideal circumstances.

Sure the ‘life’ aspect is something that needs to be considered, but more often than not it delays the creation of a new life.

In the modern world suppressing birth control is out of touch and irresponsible. It’s insidious victimising women as evil. It is no surprise that the Catholic rules are made by old men who never have to deal with pregnancy themselves and theoretically cut themselves off from having anything to do with procreation except for trying to impose their outdated ideas on others.

Fuck and run fathers and male irresponsibility

A comment on Sensible reaction from Little on Tolley/contraception raises some of the most important issues when it comes to at risk CYF kids and contraception.

I have worked on construction sites where the usual minimum wage day labourer sorts brag about the number of females they got pregnant. One had 4 kids to 3 females and was very proud of that.

Thats a lot of low quality sperm getting sprayed everywhere and fertilising equally low quality eggs and its the tax payer that will be paying over and over for it as the low IQ progeny work their way through the welfare, education and justice system.

It has to stop.

For every women (or girl) who has a baby who is born into an at risk family/lack of family situation there is also a father (I doubt that many of these kids are the result of artificial insemination or immaculate conception).

It’s known that it’s common in the problem demographics for struggling or incompetent mothers to have multiple fathers of their children.

Not all multiple father families are a problem, far from it.

But irresponsible father families – or no responsibility father families – are a major part of the problem, from fuck and run fathers to those who can’t cope and move on.

Why is it common for males to actively have sex knowing it may result on offspring that they have little or no intention of taking any financial or parenting responsibility for?

Like drink driving forty years ago it is probably seen as a joke by some, and an achievement by others.

But the victims are many, and they include the mothers who get pressured or conned into having unprotected sex, but most importantly the victims are the many kids born into hopeless situations because they have hopeless fathers.

This is a substantial systemic male problem.

So this needs male leadership. Not the easy male leadership in politics, business and sport.

It’s very difficult leadership that’s required, both because it’s a difficult issue, and because males seem to have difficulty in taking joint responsibility for male problems.

Many males are either a part of or do nothing about masculine culture irresponsibility when it comes to contraception and fatherhood.

How about it male political leaders? Who is willing to to stand up and confront the fuck and run father mentality?

John Key?
Andrew Little?
Winston Peters?
James Shaw?
Te Ururoa Flavell?Peter Dunne?
David Seymour?

Sensible reaction from Little on Tolley/contraception

While there has been a lot of silly over-reaction to Anne Tolley’s comments on contraception on Q & A (for example see Why did Tolley talk about contraception?) there has been a sensible reaction from Andrew Little, saying more access to contraception is a good thing and he doesn’t think Tolley would take it further.

A report by Newstalk ZB detailed Concerns over CYFS’ contraceptive tough line and first quoted critics:

Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie said it feeds into an undercurrent of thought that has dangerous consequences.

“In the last few years I’ve been disturbed at the number of people who are just going on quite an aggressive position of saying these people shouldn’t be allowed to have children and they are seeing people in these situations as less than human.”

And:

Massey University’s Deborah Russell said if the state was to tell mothers how many children they can have – its control over our personal bodies – which is the definition of slavery.

She thinks we can’t control when people can or cannot have children, because no one has the right to make that judgement.

Russell was Labour candidate for Rangitikei, she was the party’s first selection for the 2014 election. She was 33 on their list.

But a sensible reaction from Little:

Labour leader Andrew Little said more access to contraception is a good thing, and he doesn’t see the rest of the minister’s remarks as meaning the Government plans to take the scheme any further.

“My own personal assessment of Anne Tolley is that she would be uncomfortable with that level of intervention.”

Tolley was asked about preventing at risk parents of having more babies and gave a careful and moderate response – see the transcript: Why did Tolley talk about contraception?

Why did Tolley talk about contraception?

The Q & A interview with Anne Tolley yesterday set off a lot of discussion about contraception and sterilisation in relation to at risk children.

Tolley and National have been accused of many things including deliberate diversion (from the TPPA or whatever) and promoting ‘eugenics, again.

Anthony Robins at The Standard:

Are we still “not quite” at the stage of compulsion, or are the Nats going to cross that line? It’s obvious from their record that they have a thoroughly unhealthy obsession with the idea. John Key “thinks” (despite all the evidence to the contrary) that parents on the DPB are “breeding for a business”. That kind of sick and stupid attitude can never be allowed to control reproductive rights.

Paul at The Standard:

The National Party have set up a predictable diversion to knock the TPP off the headlines just as Groser is being taken to court to release the text.

Danyl McLauchlan at Dim-Post:

Clickbait government

This government would never actually carry out the daunting legal and policy work required to implement mandatory contraception for beneficiaries, but they sure do like floating the idea whenever there’s a dip in the polls, to outraged cries from liberal pundits and roars of approval from the talkback radio moronocracy. This is the third or fourth time the Nats have said we ‘have to have this conversation’ about beneficiaries and eugenics.

Threatening to force women to be sterilised is far better for the Minister’s media monitoring statistics than the actual pedestrian work of delivering the option of contraception to women who might desperately need it. As always with these buffoons, generating headlines is the core role of government.

So why did Tolley “float the idea”? Actually she didn’t. She was asked about it seven minutes forty seconds into a ten minute interview. She responded to it, she didn’t float it.

Michael Parkins at 7:40 : You talk about early intervention a lot here, isn’t obviously the most early form of intervention stopping some people from having children, or having more children?

Anne Tolley: Well that’s very difficult for the State to do. I  certainly think we should be providing more family planning, more contraceptive advice to some of the families that we know are, I mean I know of cases that CYF have taken a sixth and seventh baby from.

The question I’ve asked is so what advice is now going in to that parent?

Parkins: So how could you stop them from baby three and four, because you know they’re going to fail at it?

Tolley: Yes, yes that’s exactly right.

Parkins: If you were really tough about these things that’s what you’d do though isn’t it?

Tolley: Well we’ll wait and see what the recommendations are. That’s a conversation that New Zealanders perhaps need to have.

Parkin: Could that be the result of this?

Tolley: Well that’s a big step when the State starts telling people, you know, deciding if you can have another child and you can’t. I mean that’s a huge step for the State to take.

Parkin: But you’re not ruling that out being part of this next report that comes.

Tolley: Well I’ll wait and see what the panel report. I expect that they will be saying that we should get much faster contraceptive advice in, we should be offering you know tubal ligations, all sorts of things. Um and counselling those families.

Full interview: Overhauling our child care services (10:03)

That was brought up and pushed by Parking with I think very moderate responses from Tolley.

A Green Dunedin City councillor tweeted:

Hey , I thought over the weekend we went forward an hour, not back in time?

That was favourited by Green co-leader Metiria Turei. She’s over in the US at the moment so can be partly excused for perhaps not knowing the full context, but Hawkins doesn’t have that excuse.

This is either ignorance of how the topic came up and how it ran through the interview, a cheap shot, or deliberate dirty politics.

‘Sick and stupid attitude’

Sad but not surprising to see this responses like this to the issue Anne Tolley raised about people having babies in at risk situations from Anthony Robins at The Standard:

Nats and reproductive rights

The Nats are obsessed with the reproductive rights of those they deem “unfit”. Once again they are floating the idea of compulsory controls.

Are we still “not quite” at the stage of compulsion, or are the Nats going to cross that line? It’s obvious from their record that they have a thoroughly unhealthy obsession with the idea.

Why not make the very difficult issue of at risk children another political shit fight Anthony.

John Key “thinks” (despite all the evidence to the contrary) that parents on the DPB are “breeding for a business”. That kind of sick and stupid attitude can never be allowed to control reproductive rights.

That’s a link to a 2008 news report that says:

He has criticised Labour for its DPB policy, saying in 2002 that it had led to the situation “where people have been, for want of a better term, breeding for a business” – a statement Labour has since used against him.

Still using it against him over a decade later.

Talking of stupid attitudes Anthony, where are Labour’s solutions? That’s right, policy is next year’s project, trying to trash anything Key or the Government does or raises is this year’s strategy.

CYF has failed to adequately address the issue of large numbers of children being born into and living in high risk situations for several decades. Past Governments as well as the present Government have failed to make major improvements.

This deserves a serious discussion. At risk kids shouldn’t be used as a petty political football.

One thing that should be considered is whether any children are born as a result of perceptions of financial incentives by parents at high risk of harming their children (or putting them in situations where harm is likely).

The DPB is essential assistance for many mothers but that doesn’t rule out some misguided choices by mothers (and fathers) who are at risk of being poor parents.

But is the DPB a lifestyle choice for some? It is a question that shouldn’t be swept under a political rug.

Shitty political bitching, or prepared to look at some very difficult issues around children who have poor parents and crappy and high risk lives Anthony?

‘Forced contraception’ versus ‘encouraged responsibility’

Yesterday Anne Tolley was interviewed on NZ Q & A about dealing with the ineffectiveness of CYF (Child, Youth, Family) at dealing with child protection.

While changes to how CYF are currently being looked into Tolley raised a contentious issue – “forced contraception”.

@AnneTolleyMP raises impt issue re contraception for vulnerable families @NzMorningReport. Estimated 9,000 babies born at risk each year.

Radio NZ reports Minister considers ‘tricky subject’ of family size

Anne Tolley admitted it was a tricky subject, but said something had to be done about the women who have multiple children taken into care.

Mrs Tolley said she was talking about a small number of families, where Child Youth and Family was removing more than one child at birth, most from homes with a history of abuse and neglect.

“I know of a case where they were taking the sixth child from that woman and of course the first question I ask is; ‘So what sort of family planning advice is being made available to that woman, is it there immediately for her to think about?’

“It can’t be great for the mum involved to be continually pregnant and then losing that baby,” she said.

So is Mrs Tolley suggesting limiting the size of families?

“That’s not the New Zealand way. We don’t live in a dictatorship like that, but for some of these families I think it’s very distressing that we are removing four, five and six babies from them. And of course there’s a huge cost then that goes on to the general taxpayer,” she said.

But she said there was an underlying problem – referring to the Growing Up in New Zealand study that found just under a third of pregnancies were unplanned.

Mrs Tolley said in this day and age there was no need for that.

“Are we making sure that family planning and contraceptive advice is getting to the very people who need it, the families showing the most dysfunction and the most stress,” she said.

That doesn’t sound like an intention to force contraception but that’s a very tricky issue.

Association of Social Workers chief executive Lucy Sandford-Reed said she felt uncomfortable about the minister’s comments.

She said women could not be forced to use contraception and she would oppose any move to punish them by cutting their benefit if they did not agree to.

“My view would be that of a different approach and one that isn’t reactive and punitive. Providing contraceptive advice needs to be part of a package that the social work practitioner takes with them when they start working with the family. But you can’t just stomp in on day one and say ‘right here’s the pill’,” she said.

Nothing like that has been suggested by Tolley.

This is a very difficult thing to deal with, and is similar to people with high genetic risks of having children with serious medical or mental problems.

Forcing sterilisation and contraception should perhaps be reserved for extreme situations, but educating about strongly encouraging sterilisation and contraception for some people must surely be a responsible way to deal minimising children being born into at risk family situations.

It’s not dissimilar to forcing/encouraging vaccinations. Or forcing/encouraging blood transfusions and other medical help that is against the religious beliefs of parents.

Certainly these are issues that should be talked about without overstating and scaremongering.

There’s a difference between ‘forced contraception’ and ‘encouraged responsibility’, but the degree of difference may depend on the nature and degree of encouragement.

Video of interview: Overhauling our child care services