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The Australian politician who says rape is not an excuse for abortion.

Bernie Finn
Bernie Finn. Image via his public website.

There are lots of things that make us mad.

Lobby groups who use bogus facts to scare new parents out of vaccinating their children. Politicians who ignore the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.

Advertisers who cut and crop and shave and stretch images of women’s bodies so much that they no longer resemble women’s bodies. When our pizza dessert turns up without dippers.

But there are some occasions when a person in a position of great power is so utterly shameless in their foul public commentary that our rage goes off the Richter scale.

Today is one such occasion.

Mr Bernie Finn, a member of the Victorian parliament’s upper house, has made some comments about abortion this week. He spoke to his local newspaper, the Werribee-Hoppers Crossing-Point Cook Star, about why he is so vehemently against a woman’s right to choose.

“In this day and age, no, I don’t think there is any acceptable reason for having an abortion,” Mr Finn said. “In years gone by when they needed to kill the baby to save the mother then it might have been acceptable, but in today’s world I think that’s a very 1950s argument.”

Mr Finn is anti-choice. That is his right. We live in a society that values freedom (although the stance he’s expressing doesn’t exactly match that value). So in the interests of freedom, let us tell you what else he said. Mr Finn goes on…

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“I think many rapists and particularly paedophiles use abortion as a defence, they use it as a way to destroy the evidence.”

That’s right. DESTROY THE EVIDENCE.

Abortion isn’t about a woman exercising control over her own body and making a decision that is right for her and her family at a particular point in time. Abortions don’t have anything to do with women’s rights. Abortions are really about one in three Australian women being puppeted against their will by nefarious psychos in some insane detective drama on ABC 2.

It was Miss Scarlett, in the abortion clinic with the RU486 THAT DID IT.

But wait, just like the free set of steak knives that you get for calling in the first 15 minutes, THERE IS MORE from Mr Finn. He continues…

“I’ve spoken to a number of women who have been raped and then had abortions and they told me that from their point of view having an abortion was like being raped a second time. I don’t think abortion is acceptable under any circumstances and I don’t see why we should be killing babies for the crime of the father.”

Wow. That’s some seriously important information about rape that results in pregnancy. Don’t you reckon?

It’s made particularly poignant and impactful by the fact that it is being delivered by a man who has never been pregnant and will never be pregnant in his lifetime. Mr Finn’s argument is basically akin to the old “it’s okay guys, some of my best friends have been raped and had abortions”.

Sarcasm and utter despair aside, this kind of rhetoric from an elected member of parliament is quite simply disgusting. To use Mr Finn’s words, ‘in this day and age’ it’s hard to swallow the fact that there is still anyone in the community who thinks in this way about a woman’s right to choose – let alone share those thoughts with the press.

Rightfully, Mr Finn’s comments have been condemned by both his own party and the opposition. But this will not stop his voice chiming in on the Victorian political debate about abortion. A debate that is very real, ongoing and threatens to negatively impact the huge advances we have made in this country when it comes to a woman’s right to control her own body.

Women in Victoria who think THEY are the only ones who should be allowed to decide what happens in their vaginas should be afraid. Very, very afraid. Meanwhile, if Mr Finn hates abortion so much, he should simply (as is already the right of every Victorian at present) refrain from having one himself.