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Time to stop trivialising abortion

By Wendy Francis - posted Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Revealing a most unfortunate lack of understanding and information, Samantha Maiden, presenter of Live Now on Sky News, has inflated the grief for thousands of women who have suffered a miscarriage, by stating in her opinion article in The Australian ("Public policy on abortion is a disgrace") that a surgical procedure often necessary following a miscarriage is the same procedure as an abortion. This is simply not true.

There is a massive difference between a curette for a miscarriage and an abortion, as any woman who has miscarried a wanted baby knows. They have lost something precious to them. Whilst on the other hand, abortions are carried out by healthy mothers carrying healthy babies in a deliberate taking of life.

A curette may be used as PART of an abortion procedure, but it definitely isn't the same procedure. In the case of an abortion, the baby is alive and supported in the womb – the abortion kills the baby and abruptly ends its life. On the other hand, a curette for a miscarriage is the removal of an unborn baby which has died from natural causes.


Not all women who have miscarriages have a curette, but when considered necessary, they are done to prevent infection. An abortion is performed to prevent the continuation of a baby's life.

If you don't have an abortion, you can expect the end result to be a baby.

But in some circumstances, if a woman doesn't have a curette after a miscarriage the likely result would be infection.

In 2018, with the medical advances we have made, with the knowledge we have, and with babies being operated on in the womb, with premmie babies thriving after being born at 24 weeks due to our incredible hospital and medical experts, it is untenable to compare a pregnancy with an infection, as does this unfortunate opinion piece.

The truth is that any obscuring of the reality of an abortion procedure is a disservice to women. Abortion is actually a huge decision for most women. Extreme groups continue to call for legalising abortion-to-birth even when there is a healthy baby and healthy mother. In doing so they trivialise both the abortion procedure and its impact on women and their families.

Whilst we continue to sell the proposition that abortion is equivalent to any other medical procedure, women and men will continue to swallow the line that it's a "simple, safe procedure, over and done with in a jiffy - and life goes on." But for a significant number of women this is simply not the case. And while men continue to believe the line that abortion fixes a problem, and then life just goes on like before, they will continue to pressure women into abortions they are ambivalent about, not grasping the fact that, for most women, this is a big deal. The more we minimise abortion, the more society de-legitimises the pain of abortion many feel. For many women, taking the life of their own child turns out to be an earth-shattering decision. There may be those for whom it is a simple procedure, but a significant number of post-abortive women do not just get on with their lives. Rather they discover that, for them, there are serious short and long-term ramifications.


Counsellors take calls from bewildered women and men who say that if they had known the effects their abortions would have on them, and their relationship, they never would have had it. They had their abortions because they believed the lines being related in Samantha's article, and which are also peddled by activists and those in the abortion industry.

We need to stop trivialising womens' (and mens') experiences of pregnancy, miscarriage and abortion and rather than just offering more and more abortions, work for positive policies that will support and empower women and couples feeling afraid and vulnerable during pregnancy. The decision to have a curette when necessary is not a big decision to make. How can we possibly equate that with a mother taking the life of her own child - ending a healthy, viable pregnancy? Women finding themselves in difficult circumstances need the understanding that this is a very big decision, and there are options and there is help.

The Prime Minister has not created a mess, as Samantha states. Women who have a medical emergency are well catered for. Elective surgery is also available. But please don't equate them. By doing so Samantha has, perhaps unwittingly, perpetuated a great disservice to women.

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About the Author

Wendy Francis is the director of the Australian Christian Lobby’s Centre for Human Dignity. Prior to this Wendy has served in managerial positions at the Centre for Public Culture and Ideas at Griffith University and also Queensland Baptists. Wendy also ran for a senate position with Family First in 2010. She commenced a campaign in 2009 calling for outdoor advertising to be G rated.

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