Australia has been abuzz with pregnancy related news this month, covering everything from drinking during pregnancy to prenatal vitamins. But it’s the abortion debate that’s been picking up momentum this week.
The survey of 1050 Australians investigating attitudes to early and late abortion is published in the Medical Journal of Australia. It shows remarkably strong public support for women being able to access abortion at all stages of pregnancy, including after 24 weeks. The level of support depends on the circumstances.
One of the differences between this survey and previous ones is that respondents were asked to think specifically about situations where either they or someone close to them such as a partner, sister, daughter or close friend was facing specific clinical and social circumstances.
The Sydney Morning Herald titled this article “Abortion laws don’t reflect public opinion,” citing this study by Crosby/Textor as its supporting evidence. In my opinion, asking someone what they think about their daughter’s hypothetical abortion is a very emotive and inaccurate indicator of their position on the legal status of abortion. But Crosby/Textor seems to have little interest in gathering factual, usable data…
Knowing what people think is one thing. Taking this knowledge and using it to influence the way people behave to achieve your goals is another.
So who hired Crosby/Textor and employed their ‘results driven approach’? I’m not pointing fingers, but I will say that it comes as a striking coincidence that Marie Stopes International Australia, the countries leading abortion provider, launched it’s new awareness campaign promoting their services and focusing on contraception the day this article was published (after a six month lull in their Australian news department). Notice the paragraph in the awareness campaign details dedicated to a mysterious company titled MSD who wants you to ‘be well’ at the bottom? It appears disconnected from the rest of the campaign information. Who are MSD anyhow, and what do they have to do with Marie Stopes or awareness? Well, they’re a large pharmaceutical company who sells, among other things (like Nasonex, the nasal spray with the cute little bee in the commercial), contraceptives. It seems there is a lot of money to be made backing a campaign that pushes your product, but Marie Stopes and MSD just want what’s best for women, right? Right.by