Australia Medical Bodies
The author of the article aligns his view with the three refugee women in advocating for abortion to be made accessible. The basis for the refusal of abortion requests is due predominantly to the Christian nature of the country and the legality of the procedure. The matter is further complicated with inaccessibility of the required services in Australia due to recent policy changes for overseas medical referrals between the two countries and the hesitancy of Nauru to initiate referrals. The article avoids using technical jargon and is directed toward a general audience.
The written article is preceded by the image of a lady with a blurred face behind metal bars. This attempt to trigger the readers’ empathy creates a bias in the favour of the authors stance. Furthermore, it is not explicitly stated that this lady is one of the women or if she is on Nauru. The article uses the medical perspective to defend its view, specifically referencing the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), psychiatrists and obstetricians.
The arguments used includes risk of self-harm, potential unassisted attempts to abort by women themselves and the issue of lack of patient autonomy. Although it presents this aspect, it fails to consider the counter arguments, notably that of religion. Furthermore, the ‘psychiatrists’ quoted as having raised serious concerns have not been clearly identified, questioning the validity of the statement.
The article also acknowledges the legality and ethical issues of performing abortion in Nauru. Although it suggests Australia as the location for the abortion services to be delivered, it does not consider the legal and ethical status of abortion in Australia.
The Nauru Overseas Medical Referral services (OMR) have been blamed for the inaccessibility of Australian abortion services for the women but the evidence provided is anecdotal from their Australian counterparts. A more substantial level of evidence should be acquired prior to accusing the OMR.
The article does defend its position by stating reasons for why abortion should be prescribed, quoting unnamed psychiatrists for potential results of refusal as being self-harm, suicide and unassisted attempts to terminate. It also referenced the AMA and RACP for the need to provide these refugees with the care they need, which is defined as the same level of care as provided in Australian hospitals.
The article goes further to establish the reality of the issue by reflecting on history and stating that seven refugees/asylum seekers have died in offshore detention centres, with medical neglect a potential contributor. It also provides a OMR waiting list figure of more than 50, which strengthens its argument.
Although the author failed to consider the counter arguments, was unclear about some of its information sources and failed to consider issues surrounding its proposed solution, it does present an appealing and persuasive argument. This issue should be further investigated and potentially acted upon.
Australia Medical Bodies