Clementine Ford: When You Deny Healthcare In The Name Of Religious Freedom, Women Die

The air over NSW might be clogged with unprecedented levels of smoke (sorry, “haze”) but our incompetent, bloviated Federal Government would rather the public choke on something else.

Namely, the hypocritical, bitter scraps of a bill specifically designed to protect c*nts from being discriminated against for being c*nts.

I’m referring of course to the Federal Government’s Religious Freedom bill, aka How Good Are Bloody Churches #nohomo.

The Prime Minister (who claims to love Jesus despite the teachings of the Christian faith, particularly its back-catalogue, which includes such hits as “Money Is the Root Of All Evil Even But Perhaps Especially In Regards To Tax Breaks For Enormous Corporations” and “Don’t Lock Up Refugees In An Island Prison, Because It Is Very Not What Jesus Is All About”) delivered a press conference in Sydney this week to outline revised changes to the bill -- a fitting choice of location, given how closely the city currently resembles Hell. He was joined by Attorney-General Christian Porter. The clue is in the name.

Our incompetent, bloviated Federal Government would rather the public choke on its Religious Freedom bill. (Image: Getty)

Plenty has been written about the impact the legislated “religious freedom” will have against the LGBTQI+ community, and no doubt plenty more will follow. The idea that anyone needs to have enshrined rights to discriminate against a group of marginalised people whose well-being can be directly tracked via an increased risk of suicide is, to be perfectly frank, f**king obscene. About half of all trans children will attempt to end their lives at some point; this is a form of trauma significantly more pronounced than whether or not Bob from Finance is allowed to use his personal Twitter account to tweet, “GOOD,,,ONE,,,IZZY,,,YOU,,,TELL,,,THE,,,SHIRT,,,LIFTERS!!!!!”

But I’m interested in the aspects of the bill that will allow healthcare providers to deny services on the basis of religious belief. As Judith Ireland put it in the Sydney Morning Herald, “A pharmacist could refuse to dispense contraception and a doctor could refuse to provide fertility treatment under the government's proposed new religious discrimination laws, provided they declined to provide that particular service to all patients.”

The overview of the draft bill goes on to say that stopping a healthcare provider from "conscientiously objecting to providing or participating in a particular kind of health service on the basis of their religious belief... [is] not reasonable in certain circumstances... such as abortion".

Do you know what happens when healthcare providers allow their religious beliefs to trump medical practice? People die!

In 2016, 32 year old Valentina Milluzzo died in a Sicilian hospital after doctors allegedly refused to intervene in the miscarriage she was having. Valentina was five months pregnant with twins when she went into premature labour. Following the stillbirth delivery of one of the babies, Milluzzo went into sepsis. But according to her family, her Catholic doctor refused to the terminate the remainder of the pregnancy, “because he objected to abortion and the other foetus still had a viable heartbeat”. Seven Italian doctors are now being tried for manslaughter.


Valentina Milluzzo died in a Sicilian hospital after doctors allegedly refused to intervene in the miscarriage she was having. (Image: Facebook)

In 2012, Savita Halappanavar presented to a Galway hospital in the midst of a miscarriage. She was 31 years old and 17 weeks pregnant. Her repeated requests for a termination were refused (Ireland's then-abortion ban!) because the foetal heartbeat could still be detected. It took a week for the heartbeat to stop, at which point the people employed to provide healthcare finally were allowed to do their f**king jobs. But it was too late. Savita contracted sepsis, and died.

Religious freedom!

Savita Halappanavar died weeks into her pregnancy after she miscarried and doctors refused to carry out an abortion as a foetal heartbeat was present. (Image: Getty)

Listen, we know that the Church hates both women and science (don’t @ me, it bloody does) but scientific studies concerning women show just how damaging it is to deny healthcare to people seeking to end their pregnancies. The Bixby Centre’s Turnaway Study interviewed more than 1000 American participants over a period of five years, examining the well-being of people whose requests for an abortion were either granted or denied. The results were shocking.

Just kidding! They were totally predictable!

The Church may hate women, but it at least pretends to care about children (except in cases involving clerical abuse #loophole). And results from the Turnaway Study showed that denying abortions to women had a significantly negative impact on their pre-existing children. (Spoiler: Mothers get abortions too.) In fact, “children of women denied abortions were more than three times more likely to live in households below the federal poverty level and they were less likely to achieve developmental milestones than the existing children of women who received abortions.” The women themselves were also three times more likely to be unemployed, more likely to stay in contact with violent partners, and more likely to have ongoing health problems as a result of unwanted pregnancy.

Denying abortions to women has a significantly negative impact on their pre-existing children. (Image: Getty)

But of course, the rigmarole of abortions sought might be more easily avoided if pharmacists weren't also being supported to bloody well deny selling contraception to women in the first place. What is this absolute lunacy?!

The Federal government is a joke from start to finish, not least of which is due to its insistence on delivering this Mickey Mouse bill to religious groups who believe themselves to be hampered by the oppression of PoLiTiCaL cOrReCtNeSs.

Let’s be extremely clear about this: allowing healthcare providers to deny people access to abortions, contraception and necessary hormonal treatments is not a legislative expression of support for “religious freedom”. It’s an attack on citizens who are seeking healthcare they need and healthcare they are legally entitled to receive. Nothing puts the hypocrisy into the Hippocratic Oath more than allowing medical practitioners to pick and choose which services they provide, based on their own personal viewpoint and not that of, y’know, the f**king welfare of the patient.

If the medical establishment’s resident God Squad has a problem doing their actual job, they should have entered the legal profession instead and all become politicians.