Saturday, November 06, 2004

Read it. Weep.

Cultivating Inconvenience

I'm waiting for a break in the weather so that I can go and buy a Saturday Age. It needs to be a good long break, because I'll have to walk about half a kilometre to the nearest newsagent, instead of the three doors down the street to the corner convenience store.

You might think it perverse to wait for a break in the rain so that I can walk half a kilometre just to buy The Age but there's a principle involved. I've been mulling over Tony Abbott's latest comments on abortion, particularly the bit about women being railroaded into abortions by “the culture of convenience”.

When I first read it, I thought the idea of people being railroaded by a culture of convenience sounded a little oxymoronic (with the first two syllables optional) but, on a little reflection, I've decided there might be something in it. And, as I'd be no more willing to have an abortion than I would to have my balls cut off, the idea of contributing, even in a small way, to a situation where others might feel compelled to have an abortion is pretty repugnant. So I've decided that from now on I won't be having any part of any “culture of convenience”. And I'll be taking a longer walk to get my Saturday paper.

It's not all self-sacrifice, though; I'll get some healthy exercise out of the trip and while I'm up at the newsagent's I can check out some of the magazines. Now I think about it, I might as well pack up my dirty clothes and take them to the laundromat while I'm out. I can read the paper while they're washing.

Item 35643

Like Scott Wickstein in the comments to this post at Troppo Armadillo I so wasn't going to get into the debate on Tony Abbott's recent posturings on abortion. I especially wasn't going to go anywhere near Abbott's claim that Australia currently has an “epidemic” of abortions with 100,000 abortions performed a year. No way known was I interested in checking his figures to see how accurate they were.

I absolutely refused to waste any time googling up the Health Insurance Commission to get figures on the number of abortions funded by Medicare. No way was I going to use the HIC's online report generator to extract data for the years 1994 to 2003. So I can't tell you that the average number of Medicare funded abortions each year between 1994 and 2003 was about 25,000 short of Abbott's figure.

Not only that, but I steadfastly refused to do any data analysis, not even the sort of cursory data analysis you can do with the statistical functions of a standard spreadsheet program. So I'm absolutely not going to claim that the trend, if any, has been for the annual number of abortions to decline slightly.

It's just a bunch of pointless facts that are totally irrelevant to Abbott's position. So why should anyone give a rat's arse?