Title: Judith Collins - None dare call it sabotage? Credit: Craig Young Features Tuesday 14th September 2004 - 12:00pm1095120000 Article: 419 Rights
Judith Collins is one of the legacies of the English error of National Party leadership. Together with ex-National Party President Michelle Boag, ex-National Deputy Leader Nick Smith, and ex-Leader of the Opposition Bill English, she was selected to replace Warren Kyd as National's replacement Clevedon electorate MP. Unfortunately, it has become quite clear that she's a moralist zealot. English appointed her as National's "family spokesperson," and her version of the family excludes anyone other than married heterosexual couples. Same-sex parents and solo mums need not apply. Exactly why Don Brash didn't abolish her shadow portfolio is unknown, but she's trying to sabotage the Care of Children Bill. In the benighted United States, the US anti-abortion movement has had particular success with attacks on the reproductive rights of adolescents, with harmful results for young womens and mens reproductive and sexual health. It means that teenagers delay medical treatment, and risk complications, are too scared to obtain contraceptives or condoms if they know their parents will be informed, and cruelly, incest survivors are forced to go through a 'judicial bypass' to prevent dysfunctional, violent and abusive parents from interfering with their abortion access. Too bad if a concerned teacher, clergyperson or her grandparents see things differently and try to help her obtain an abortion. Collins is trying to introduce this anti-abortion legislation to New Zealand, under the euphemism of 'parental law and consent.' Why should we be concerned about this? Because Collins has chosen to do her grandstanding during the forthcoming second reading of the Care of Children Bill, sabotaging our access to guardianship rights and responsibilities. Never mind that the New Zealand Medical Association, the Family Planning Association and General Practitioners Society all oppose Collins' stealth anti-abortion bill. All of these organisations have practical experience in dealing with adolescent reproductive and sexual health, and I trust their professional judgement more than I do a kneejerk social conservative ideologue. When Collins' was met with this practical and professional opposition, she screeched that it was based on "political correctness." No, Ms. Collins, it is based on their professional expertise. You are not a qualified medical practitioner. Butt out, and stop interfering with matters that you are unequipped to understand. It is significant that Helen Clark, as a former Health Minister herself, is strongly opposed to Collins' folly. Why should this issue concern lesbians and gay men? For gay men, it sets a troubling precedent. What if the proposed legislation represents a slippery slope? What if her proposed legislation is drafted so badly that it includes young males under its legislative definition, and young gay men are prevented from finding out neccessary information about safe sex and proper STI and HIV/AIDS prevention methods? What if they go to the wrong doctor, and she or he outs that person to their parents due to this proposed legislation? What if those parents are abusive, dysfunctional and violent? It wouldn't neccessarily be the case that the young gay man would intend to have sex immediately either, if he's fourteen or fifteen. He might want information about safe sex for later, when he reaches the age of consent. Even if this anti-minor legislation doesn't contain such clauses, what if future anti-minor legislation is targeted at gay teenagers who are trying to protect themselves? Why did Don Brash appoint this woman as National's health spokesperson, when that party already has an almighty gender gap? Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley realised the importance of keeping moralist ideologues out of mainstream portfolio responsibilities. At the moment, Brash has inherited a skewed caucus due to his predecessors incompetence, and it disproportionately consists of social conservative ideologues, despite Brash's personal social liberalism. Until and unless that situation is remedied, it would be foolhardy for lesbians and gay men to entrust National with responsibilities related to government. If you reside in a National-represented electorate, then call Parliament and inform your MP that you oppose Collins' folly: (04) 471 9999. Recommended Reading: For more information about the harmful effects of anti-minor anti-abortion laws and their wider harmful implications for teenage reproductive and sexual health: US National Abortion Rights Action League: US National Abortion Federation: Craig Young - 14th September 2004    
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