Eva Cox of the Womens Electoral Lobby bemoans that “(Tony Abbott) has
difficulty separating his personal beliefs with his role as Minister
for Health.” (The Age, 3/1). The double-standard is extraordinary.
Imagine the reaction if it were suggested that a health minister with
pro-abortion convictions was thus disqualified from office, or that
an avowed feminist could not drive Womens Affairs.
What seems to escape Cox (along with Natasha Stott-Despoja, and
others) is that Western democracies are “pro-choice”, fundamentally.
Every Australian is free to believe, speak and act on whatever
philosophical, social, spiritual, or other belief system they choose.
This climate entitles any Australian to bring their personal
convictions to bear on public life and debate at any level, whether
around the cabinet table or the suburban barbie. “Pro-Choice”
enthusiasts believe that the validation and availability of abortion
serves the good of women and of society at large. Fair enough. But
unfortunately for them, “Pro-Lifers” (Abbott and myself among them) –
based on a variety of faith convictions or none – believe precisely
the opposite with equal conviction. Either may question the soundness
of the other’s position; but our society validates both. That’s
democracy, Ms Cox. You have to live with it, and so do I.