THE legislation put before the NSW Parliament last week reinvigorated the abortion debate. When a woman has to deal with an unwanted pregnancy there is no "correct" outcome. Back in the day, she had three choices: marry the father if possible, surrender the baby for adoption or seek an illegal abortion, often at the risk to her own life. It is a cruel thing to force a woman to carry a foetus for nine months, make her give birth and then give her baby to strangers. I cannot imagine the pain she suffers. No wonder few women take this option.
Currently we can add keep the baby with support from the government, and seek a legal abortion. Generally, none of these options is ideal; the mother has to choose which is the least worst. No matter which option she chooses, there will be anguish and often regret.
Very rarely are the fathers involved in this decision. Even if they are, they are not the ones who have to go through the medical procedure itself, the pregnancy, the birth of the child and perhaps its long-term care. Yet so often the opponents of legal abortion are men, debating an issue they will never have to directly deal with.
Opponents of abortion claim that all life is precious. Yes, it is, but not just the life of the unborn. I think they would have more credibility if they showed concern for the quality of life of abused and neglected children; the homeless; the millions of refugees, particularly those rotting on Manus Island and Nauru; our unemployed.
If every objector became a foster carer, what a difference they could make to the life of a child. Every agency is chronically short-handed. Alternatively, they could offer space in their home or lobby the government for more humane treatment of the homeless and refugees. Then I believe their objections would be more credible.
Safe abortions have been available in NSW for several years as the result of a legal loophole. Abortion is legal in every other state. The world has not come falling down around our ears. The latest legislation only decriminalises what is already happening. Let's get on with it.
Joan Lambert, Adamstown'
TAKE THE SCENIC ROUTE
HAS common sense ridden off into the sunset? There is now no doubt that riding a pushbike along Hunter Street, Newcastle, is hazardous. I have a radical suggestion; don't ride along Hunter Street. Take the far more scenic route along the foreshore and Honeysuckle Drive. Or, take King Street.
If you have a need to get to a business or premises in Hunter Street, ride to the nearest intersection from either of those routes, then dismount and walk the short distance to your destination. We all make decisions every day based on needs, desires and risks. Yes, I ride a pushbike from time to time. Yes, I drive a car from time to time. I also frequently use public transport.
Natalie Williams, Hamilton North
DINGO DANGER SEEMS MOOT
I TRAVELLED from Scone to Forster last weekend via the Barrington Tops. It was a beautiful drive. The last time I travelled over the Barrington was about 30 years ago. The question that pondered in my head 30 years ago was brought back to the forefront of my brain: why is there a dingo fence?
A quick Google revealed there are no dingoes in the Barrington forest anymore. So, what is the purpose of this gate and fence? Is it maintained by anyone, or are we just silly old sheep that follow the rule that if you go through a shut gate, you shut it behind you? There is no signage that asks you to shut the gate. In fact, there is no reference that it is a dingo gate. I would like some clarity from someone in the know. Why are we still opening and shutting a gate at the top of the Barrington?
Kim Maloney, Cooranbong
DON'T OVERRULE THE EXPERTS
PETER Devey (Letters, 5/8) seems to fit a type of climate change denier that I call armchair scientists. These people seem to be able to analyse reams of data and conclusions used by many thousands of climate scientists better than they can. I don't know where they find the time.
I looked up Mr Devey's claim that climate models do not fit the data with (and here's a handy tip) the word 'rebuttal' added to the search. Up came the usual suspects with known links to fossil industries but also many rebuttals from credible sources. It seems the inaccurate models are those which did not predict El Nino cycles, but even they work when those figures are entered. Mr Devey says running the models in reverse reveal large inaccuracies, but my search showed this is standard practice used to test models before they are run. It's called 'hindcasting'. One prominent site pushing Mr Devey's idea was still talking about a pause in global warming. Please just look up 'hottest year on record' and stop talking about the fake pause.
Michael Gormly, Islington
PROFITS LESS THAN LEASE
IT'S interesting to read about the bid to have the government revoke the 99-year lease of Darwin Harbour because of security fears after the Country Liberal Party sold it in 2014 for $506 million.
It will be interesting to see how much the Australian taxpayer will have to fork out if the lease is cancelled and what penalties were written into the contract. You can bet it will be more than the miserly $506 million the CLP got for the lease, and Liberals say they are best to run the financials of Australia.
Les Baldwin, Pelican
HOLY ARGUMENT FALLS SHORT
I THINK Peter Dolan is trying to wear me down (Letters, 8/8). Two days ago (Letters, 6/8) he wrote that he was not confused, although he persisted in trying to conflate the specific royal commission recommendation relating to the confessional with the broader question of whether priests should be obliged to report crimes that come to their attention within the confessional. He quoted Waleed Aly, for whom I have enormous respect but do not regard as an expert on Christian theology (nor, I suspect, would Mr Aly). He also mentioned the fourth-century bishop Ambrose the Great. Ambrose was noted for his flexibility and is credited with the saying: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". Perhaps if Ambrose was alive today he would have a similarly flexible attitude towards the need for civil authorities to deal with the abominable crimes committed upon children by his clerical colleagues, including flexibility in the sanctity of the confessional. Now, two days later, Mr Dolan is suggesting that I'm the confused one, but he presents the same argument, just with slightly different wording, perhaps in the vain hope that if he says the same thing often enough it will make it true.