SYDNEY, Australia, Feb. 9 — The continuing debate here over the so-called abortion pill RU-486 — the Senate voted Thursday to make it more easily available — has revealed many of the same fierce emotions as abortion debates do in the United States.Boy, I really can't imagine Canada's right-wing, governing Finance Minister making a similar statement.
But it has also produced some moments unfathomable in the United States.
"I bring to this debate personal experience," said Senator Nick Minchin, who opposed the legislation. "A former girlfriend of mine had an abortion," he said Wednesday on the floor of Parliament. Mr. Minchin, 52, is also the country's finance minister, from the conservative governing Liberal Party, but there is no suggestion that he will lose his post, or even his next election.
What was perhaps more stunningly personal was the statement on the Senate floor by Senator Lynette Allison, a sponsor of the legislation.
"An estimated one in three women have had an abortion," she said. "And I am one of them."
She was 18, and abortion was illegal then, in the 1960's, she said in an interview. She came from a conservative family, "which would have been ashamed of their daughter having an illegitimate child," added Ms. Allison, 59, who was a secondary school teacher before she got into politics. It was not difficult to make the public statement, and she did so out of solidarity with other women, she said.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
via Lawyers, Guns, and Money: