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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 38, Number 13. 12th June 1975

Young Socialists — just 'liberal' or 'reactionary'?

Young Socialists — just 'liberal' or 'reactionary'?

Dear Sir,

The young Socialists have never exactly had my warmhearted support but the pure crap they distributed in the Union Hall last Thursday under the heading 'Edelin Conviction Blow To Abortion Rights' prompts me to comment.

This handout, described by Young Socialists as a fact sheet, on the contrary resorts to emotive argument, label pinning and association of groups in a way which reminds me of Nixon's clever way of calling his opponents communists ('A vote for me is a vote against communism').

Side one of the sheet begins with an introductory paragraph in which the foundation for association of the anti-abortionists and racists is laid (underlined words 'Black', 'Boston', 'Black'). The rest is a quote from the US socialist newsweekly. "The Militant'. It makes great play of the fact that Edelin (a 'Black') was convicted by an 'all white' jury for performing an abortion on a young 'Black' woman, but conveniently forgets to mention that the chief prosecutor in the case was also a 'Black'. From here on it is in the familiar — black and white, goodies and badies story (swap the sides around and it could have come straight out of the Tablet). The goodies (otherwise called 'forces', 'supporters') 'demonstrate', 'chant'. Volunteer to work overtime without pay', 'rally', whereas the baddies ('racists', 'Catholic Church', 'enemies', 'hypocrites', 'right-wingers', etc.) whip up racism, spend millions on hysterical advertising, launch a 'smear campaign', etc. And (of course!) Edelin was 'convicted ... for performing a 'legal' abortion ...' (?)

And (of course!) the sheet doesn't mention that the fetal experiments against which the anti-abortionists launched a 'smear' campaign involved cutting the heads off living fetuses and seeing how long you could keep them alive (would you believe 8 days?)

Side two of the sheet continues with the racist Connection. The article itself points out that the women who need abortions are the 'poor women, mainly the Black women', so it seems that if an illegal abortion was performed by a doctor then the chances are it would be on a Black woman — but to charge the doctor would be racist??

I am sick to death of this kind of dishonesty which is used by both 'liberals' and 'reactionaries' alike to 'prove' their cases. What we need is some reason and honesty and definitely not the band-wagon jumping of the Young Socialists or anyone else.

Peter Gibbs.