procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

to decriminalise is to legitimise

Phillip Jensen wrote today on this issue in regards to the abhorrent victorian abortion legislation (is that too strong a word?). you can find it in today's SMH, or here.

despite the histrionics of Green's MP Lee Rhiannon*, i think Jensen makes a really good point:
Since the 1960s, censorship and gambling laws have been relaxed, and prostitution and homosexuality have been decriminalised.
[... T]o decriminalise is to legitimise.
whilst i am generally quite liberal (if i don't say so myself), i am thankful for this reminder about the impacts of decriminalising things that society has generally had questions about. decriminalising under-age sex for example sends the message not that society doesn't think jail is too extreme a punishment for teenage kids who have sex, but rather it says anyone is fair game - don't ever let age (or anything!) limit your sexual freedom. however old you are. and your respective age differences.

we need then to think not just about the immediate impacts of decriminalisation (eg ending backyard abortion clinics - tho i didn't think this was currently an issue), but what it implies society thinks on certain issues (eg an abortion is a lifestyle choice). it's about keeping the big picture in perspective.

* i should perhaps note, i have written written favourably about the Greens previously here. however i have sadly rarely found Rhiannon to be representative of myself or rational discussion.

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Blogger mark said...

I too read that article this morning - and I've gotta agree with you mate. It really helps to think about the knock-on effects of the principles behind these things... thanks for posting this little snippet up online...

11:35 pm  
Blogger DanielS said...

Seems like yesterday was the day for Abortion articles. The Courier Mail (QLD paper) republished this - - as a response to world Down Syndrome day.

thanks for drawing my attention to Philips article.

8:48 am  

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