The Guardian 9 February, 2005

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War council on abortion meets

Here we go again. Males of different religious affiliations and some politicians got together for a meeting last week to kick-start an anti-abortion debate and lobby for changes to abortion legislation. Members of the Anglican, Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Salvation Army, Weysleyan, Seventh-Day Adventist churches took part in what can be only described as a war council to put pressure on the government (which will pretend that it has nothing to do with its own similar agenda) and the community to spread their obscurantist views and make them legal.

Of course, at the moment they wring their religious hands in moral indignation over late-term abortion. They do say that they don't want to criminalise abortion. Do I believe them? No.

For several reasons. First of all, the anti-abortion campaign has been on the agenda for a long time. Tony Abbott, the Health Minister who should have never been appointed to the position in the first place because of his anti-abortion agenda, had already tried to start a campaign. He did not get very far with it. It does not mean that he has abandoned the idea.

Now these creeps are giving it the needed oxygen by pretending they are doing it on high moral grounds. They do admit that their campaign against late-term abortions is a "starting point". What is the finishing point? You guessed it - moving abortions to backyards and as a consequence, putting women's lives at risk once again.

The church groups at the meeting were discussing church support and funding for a think tank and a high-profile advertising campaign.

Considering that as religious organisations they do not pay taxes and have lots of money, they surely can afford it.

What I want to know is - as not a part of any of the above organisations - why should I put up with fundamentalist onslaught on every woman's right to a private life? How dare these creatures even think that they have a right to pry into private medical histories of women? Do they advocate the same treatment for themselves? Do they offer the public their intimate details of prostate examinations?

Frankly, I don't want to know. I see no reason why they should be given any access to women's medical data either. It's sick. If they have a problem, I am sure there are some specialists who would be able to help them with appropriate treatment. Meanwhile, they'd better not play with women's lives.

Kitchen, children and church as far as a woman's aspirations should go is a bit passé. If these so-called "moral crusaders" are looking for something to do why not clean up their own houses and deal with the paedophiles that they've been covering up for in their churches for starters? At least it will be something useful.

Jean Hopkins
Brisbane, Qld

"Marxist Corner"

I have considered over a long period of time how excellent it would be if we had a "Marxist Corner" in The Guardian, where Marxist Thoughts, Ideas, Quotations, References and Creative Articles, not only from Marx, Engels and Lenin, but from World Marxist leaders including our own Marxists Peter Symon, Hannah Middleton and others, where they could be read and studied, with the intention of achieving a guide to action.

Marxism is the ideology and the politics of our struggle and we need to be guided by its experience and scientific teachings.

I think we need the help Marxism can offer.

We need the Marxist Guide to action.

Max Hunt
Beverley Hills, NSW

Tragic fate of economic refugee

The tragic fate of a 23-year-old Ukrainian woman, an economic refugee from the Ukraine is horrific to contemplate.

Working in a meat processing plant located in Ballymoney, County Antrim (6 Counties - Ireland), Tanya (not her name) suffering from malnutrition and sleeping rough in sub zero temperatures, became very sick. Tanya contacted friends, her condition worsened, they summoned help. Tanya was taken to hospital in Coleraine, County Derry, from there transferred to Belfast City hospital. Tanya's New Year's Day 2005 gift was the amputation of both her legs. The girl with a promising dancing career, with many fellow Ukrainians, will get the meaning of Colin Powell's democracy.

Can anyone forget his droning voice, from Kiev, announcing the victory of USA preferred candidate and his congratulations to the USA chosen candidate?

For Tanya and other refugee workers, exploited by unscrupulous bosses, robbed of wages, no legal protection and afraid to ask for help, robbery, beatings and murder are not unusual.

Colin Powell's democracy has no justice.

Tanya will be cared for by people who have fought for justice and continue the struggle. Billy Leonard Sinn Féin Councillor, Coleraine, is organising an investigation.

This is a case worth watching and a lesson for us here.

Refugee workers are a hidden group, warned not to contact or become close to the population.

They are kept moving from habitat to habitat. The break up of the Soviet Union has brought misery never dreamed of by the youth of the former USSR. Now they will experience the true meaning of deprivation, humiliation, loss of identification, birthright stolen by criminals - Gorbachev, Yeltsin - two of the USA's favourite sons.

Anne Duffy-Lindsay
Sydney, NSW

The man with two faces

How hypocritical can a Prime Minister be, when he enters the Muslim Mosque to pray over the disaster caused by the Tsunami.

On the other hand supporting Bush and Blair, bombing their homes in Iraq and killing men, women and children for oil, our little lap dog is the only head of state, world-wide after a couple of years' search, who is still convinced there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What hypocrisy!

Des Donley
Maroubra, NSW

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