Once again, a man has spoken about an issue that is fundamentally about a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body. Yep, Barnaby Joyce has decided to make the NSW abortion decriminalisation bill debate about himself, using the example of his son with partner Vikki Campion as proof that abortion is morally wrong.
To recap, Barnaby announced he was having his first child with Vikki Campion in February last year, after announcing his separation from his wife in December 2017. He has since had a second son, Thomas, with Vikki. It was Tom that he name-dropped in the debate this week.
The politician made a statement regarding the current abortion decriminalisation bill that’s being debated in NSW parliament, saying:
“In the NSW Parliament they are debating whether Tom had no classification of human rights. To say he didn’t have the rights of other human life is to say he must be subhuman.”
I hate when men join the abortion debate, because – as well all know – men statistically don’t end up dealing with the responsibilities of having an unwanted child.
But I particularly hate that Barnaby Joyce has piped up on this occasion – for a male politician on $200k+ to wax on about abortion rights is just fucked in my opinion.
For starters, $211k – Barnaby’s current pay packet – is more than enough money to raise a child in Australia. It’s a far easier decision to keep an accidental pregnancy if your partner a) hangs around and b) has a solid and steady income to support the child. For many women seeking abortion, financial security is a huge factor. After all, it can be a struggle for many in Australia to simply avoid living in poverty, let alone find the money to raise a child.
Pregnancy itself is also expensive – it’s not just about the costs of raising a child. Scans, tests, and check-ups aren’t always completely covered by Medicare. It’s a costly venture that many financially can’t afford.
Then there’s the context. Obviously, women choose to have children at varying ages. But would the situation with Vikki be different if she wasn’t 33 with an established career when she fell pregnant? What if she were 25 and just starting her career? 40 and Barnaby didn’t plan to leave his wife for her to help raise the child? 19 and in Uni?
Barnaby and Vikki were in a privileged position when they fell accidentally pregnant – they were well-off, Barnaby was a supportive partner who was happy to help raise the baby, and Vikki was (I assume) at a point in her life and career when motherhood was a choice she felt comfortable making.
But these are simply arguments as to why Barnaby Joyce, of all people, shouldn’t be joining the abortion debate. The wider reason he shouldn’t be speaking about abortion is because it has literally ZERO TO DO WITH HIS BODY.
Hey, men who think they have a say in the abortion debate – what if pregnancy happened inside YOUR body, leaving you with the fact that, statistically, you’re likely to be stuck with a child for the rest of your life – raising it alone if your partner decides to leave?
What if you were financially incapable of giving that child a good life? What if you were facing giving up Uni, school, your career, your home to raise a child? Not such an easy decision anymore, is it.
Abortion is about women. It’s about women’s bodies. It is not about men.
For many women, abortion is the most humane option. No one is going to an abortion clinic on a whim, not giving a shit about ending a pregnancy. They have reasons to be there, and even if that reason is purely about their own quality of life, they should be allowed to make that choice.
This is why men shouldn’t be offering up their opinion on the matter – you simply can’t fully understand it, because it physically doesn’t happen to you. At the end of the day, you can literally disappear on a woman you impregnated and she will be left with the responsibility of raising that child. It doesn’t happen inside your body, it happens inside ours – and because of that, we can’t run away from the responsibility once it’s a reality.
At the end of the day, Barnaby’s son Tom was born into a privileged situation. That’s one reason he shouldn’t have been judging anyone on abortion.
But his son was also physically born from Vikki’s body. If Barnaby decided to stay with his then-wife during their first pregnancy, leaving Vikki to raise the child as a single mother, he could have. Vikki – without access to abortion – would have been forced to have a child she may not have been capable of raising. Or maybe having that child would have meant she lived a life she wasn’t ready for or wanting. Whatever the case, the fact is that men don’t deal with pregnancy – women do.
So shut the fuck up, Barnaby. Abortion isn’t immoral, but it’s also extremely not about you.