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Lateline -

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Tonight - edging towards compromise? Hints the Government is looking for a way out of the free
trade deadlock. We still don't have the amendment. It's two days since the announcement was made.
He flags all the problems that he sees with the Labor proposals and then he goes out and adopts it
and tries to claim it as his own. This program is captioned live. Good evening. Welcome to
Lateline. I'm Tony Jones. Also tonight - how the abortion debate is being altered by the power of
images. If anything could make me change my mind about destroying foetuses, it is this technology.
British filmmaker Julia Black joins us later from London to discuss with two prominent Australian
feminists the impact her documentary 'My Foetus' is having on the debate. But first, our other

FTA political stalemate continues

FTA political stalemate continues

Reporter: Kim Landers

TONY JONES: The political stalemate over the Australia-US free trade deal has dragged on for
another day.

It's been bogged down by claim and counterclaim over whether Labor has come up with a compromise to
protect access to affordable medicines.

But the Opposition is growing increasingly confident the Government will eventually do a deal.

From Canberra, Kim Landers reports.

KIM LANDERS: Even with snow on the mountains in the national capital, there seemed to be a thaw in
the frosty stand-off between the Opposition and Government over the US free trade deal.

JOHN ANDERSON, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: We will have more to say about it during the day.

I mean, plainly the free trade agreement is important to Australia.

We want it up.

KIM LANDERS: But when Parliament resumed, the Prime Minister made it clear he wasn't going to
buckle by adopting Labor's amendment, which it says would stop big drug companies from blocking the
entry of cheaper, generic medicines on to the market.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: Our advice from five departments is you can't draft an effective
amendment to give purpose and point to what the Leader of the Opposition said on Tuesday.

MARK LATHAM, OPPOSITION LEADER: Surprise, surprise, the Prime Minister has got departmental advice
that he's happy with.

Well, what does that remind you of?

Kids overboard?

The war in Iraq?

Mick Kelty and the AFP?

It's another Groundhog Day.

KIM LANDERS: Labor lawyers are drafting the changes and a deal could still be in the wind.

JOHN HOWARD: Will you please let us have your amendment?

We've looked at the two, Mr Speaker, and I'd be delighted to see it.

TONY ABBOTT, FEDERAL HEALTH MINISTER: We are not hard or cruel here in the Government.

We are prepared to humour the Opposition.

We are perfectly prepared to accept unnecessary but innocuous amendments but we will not and never
accept unnecessary and dangerous amendments.

KIM LANDERS: Mark Latham says the Senate will have the amendment next week and is confident the
Prime Minister will cave in.

MARK LATHAM: We've had enough of this charade where the Prime Minister, time after time, he gets
the departmental advice he's happy with, he flags all the problems that he sees with the Labor
proposal and then he goes out and adopts it and tries to claim it as his own.

KIM LANDERS: The Democrats say both major parties are acting out of pure self-interest.

SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT, DEMOCRATS LEADER: We believe the time is right to actually focus on the
wide-ranging flaws in the free trade agreement, rather than have a false debate just about one
small aspect of one small area.

KIM LANDERS: Business too is hoping for an end to the deadlock.

HEATHER RIDEOUT, AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP: The Australian Industry Group would like them to get
together and resolve this impasse sooner rather than later, so the agreement can be implemented
from 1 January 2005.

KIM LANDERS: But there's no deal yet and tomorrow the Prime Minister flies to Samoa for the South
Pacific Forum.

Kim Landers, Lateline.

(c) 2006 ABC |

Report details alleged mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay

Report details alleged mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay

Reporter: Norman Hermant

TONY JONES: There are new allegations that two Australians being held at Guantanamo Bay have been
abused by their US captors.

The charges have been made by three former British detainees in a report detailing alleged
mistreatment during their imprisonment.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says the new allegations should be investigated by a US inquiry
already under way.

But even within his own party some say that's not good enough.

Norman Hermant reports.

NORMAN HERMANT: They have been dubbed the Tipton Three - British citizens now free who spent more
than two years in US custody at Guantanamo Bay.

They have released a 115-page report detailing allegations of abuse there.

MICHAEL RATNER, CENTRE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Guns were put to the heads of some of the people
while they were under interrogation, a completely illegal practice, stripping, numerous cavity
searches that were unnecessary in terms of security, long-term isolations, beatings by squads that
were called the immediate reaction force.

All of this is documented in this report.

NORMAN HERMANT: The former detainees also say two Australians held captive have also suffered
terrible abuse.

Of Mamdouh Habib, the report says: "Habib himself was in catastrophic shape, mental and physical...

He used to bleed from his nose, mouth and ears when he was asleep."

NORMAN HERMANT: The report says David Hicks came in for especially harsh treatment.

"We were interrogated a lot, but he used to be interrogated every two or three days, sometimes
every day."

NORMAN HERMANT: There is already a US military investigation under way into the alleged abuse of
Australians at Guantanamo Bay.

The Foreign Minister says these latest allegations should be included, although he is sceptical.

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER: These three people who've made these allegations,
who've been in Guantanamo Bay, wouldn't, on the face of it, be regarded as objective observers, so
we'll just have to wait and see whether they're pushing a political line or if there's any
substance to these allegations.

But one Government backbencher has suggested simply leaving the inquiry in the hands of the
Americans isn't good enough.

PETER KING, LIBERAL MP: What would be useful is if the Government could either suggest to the
Americans the appointment of an Australian military officer to form part of the formal
investigation into what's happened at Guantanamo Bay, and also in Egypt, with Habib.

And I think if that were done it would be a very useful step, or even appointing our own inquiry.

NORMAN HERMANT: And members of the Opposition have gone further, Greens leader Bob Brown even
suggesting that if the allegations are true, the PM shares some of the blame.

BOB BROWN, GREENS LEADER: Yes, if the allegations are proven then John Howard is culpable.

He's part of the problem.

He sat on his hands.

He turned his back on citizens of this country who had not been charged, who were innocent until
proven guilty.

NORMAN HERMANT: The US inquiry into the treatment of Australians at Guantanamo Bay was initially
due for completion at the end of June.

The Government now says it expects the investigation to finish within weeks.

Norman Hermant, Lateline.

(c) 2006 ABC |

was initially due for completion at the end of June. The Government now says it expects the
investigation to finish within weeks. Norman Hermant, Lateline. Singapore's Government has warned
that the group behind the Bali bombings, Jemaah Islamiah, is plotting more terror attacks in
South-East Asia. Government officials say that younger members of JI have replaced those who have
been arrested

Documentary re-ignites abortion debate

Documentary re-ignites abortion debate

Reporter: Kirstin Murray

TONY JONES: A controversial film showing the abortion of a 4-week-old foetus is to be broadcast on
ABC television at the weekend.

We should warn that if you are going to be bothered by images of an actual abortion you should
think of turning off now.

When the film was first screened in Britain, Channel 4 offered viewers a helpline to call if they
were traumatised by what they would see.

The documentary, called My Foetus, will be shown on the religious affairs show Compass on Sunday

But even before it's been televised the film has reignited passionate political debate about
reproductive rights in Australia.

Kirstin Murray reports, and just a reminder - this story contains graphic images, including an
actual abortion procedure.

KIRSTEN MURRAY: The British film My Foetus shows a woman undergoing an abortion and fetal remains
being rinsed through a sieve.

Filmmaker Julia Black says she wanted viewers to confront the process of ending a pregnancy.

JULIA BLACK, FILMMAKER, IN 'MY FOETUS': When I had my abortion 13 years ago, I didn't want to know
what it involved.

KIRSTEN MURRAY: Her father is the founder of one of Britain's largest abortion providers and she
says she's always been pro-choice.

But during her second pregnancy she decided to examine her stance.

JULIA BLACK, IN 'MY FOETUS': Will I still be able to be pro-choice if I confront the reality of

KIRSTEN MURRAY: The film screened in Britain earlier this year, causing a storm of controversy with
calls for it to be banned.

And while it's drawn immense interest here, most abortion advocates and opponents have defended the
ABC's decision to air it.

Mary Joseph hopes the images will work against the pro-abortion lobby, turning women off the

MARY JOSEPH, RIGHT TO LIFE: We believe it is really a huge breakthrough in terms of showing 4D
ultrasound photography of the unborn child and it really will help people to confront the reality
of abortion.

KIRSTEN MURRAY: But Julia Black says her aim was to encourage advocates to reclaim the fate of the
foetus as a central part of their argument.

JULIA BLACK, IN 'MY FOETUS': I've previously been outraged by images of aborted foetuses and
believed they should be censored.

But they show the consequence of a legal surgical procedure, so why have I found them so offensive?

KIRSTEN MURRAY: The filmmaker's approach has been criticised by some women's groups who say she
failed to point out how anti-abortion groups use these images.

CATE CALCUTT, CHILDREN BY CHOICE: The anti-choice movement misuse foetal images.

They use them to harass women who are entering clinics and to cause them distress.

KIRSTEN MURRAY: Cate Calcutt says she had hoped the documentary would have included the tough
decisions faced by women rather than focusing on images of pregnancy, foetuses and terminations.

Meanwhile, Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has become involved in the public debate.

TONY ABBOTT, FEDERAL HEALTH MINISTER: Even those who think that abortion is a woman's right should
surely be troubled by the fact that 100,000 Australian women choose to destroy their unborn babies
every year.

KIRSTEN MURRAY: He's now calling for a ban of abortions over 20 weeks.

But without the backing of each State and Territory, who are responsible for abortion laws, it's
unlikely his ban will become a reality.

SENATOR NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA, DEMOCRATS: The Minister's comments give the impression that
abortions after 20 weeks may be common or even easy to access.

That is not the case in this country.

KIRSTEN MURRAY: No-one knows exactly how many abortions are performed in Australia each year, but
it's estimated to be somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000.

In most parts of Australia, there is no legislation limiting how late an abortion can be performed,
rather convention has set a limit of 20 weeks - a cut-off point based on an assessment of whether
the foetus could survive outside the mother's womb.

Those performed after the first trimester are rare.


They constitute about 1 per cent or 2 per cent of all the terminations done in Australia.

Quite a lot of the mid-trimester terminations are for foetal abnormalities.

And then there's another group of mid-trimester terminations which are unwanted pregnancies.

JULIA BLACK, 'MY FOETUS': But if anything could persuade me that destroying a foetus is perhaps
wrong, it is this technology.

I ask to see what foetuses within the 24-week abortion limit would like in 3D.

WENDY McCARTHY, FOUNDER, WOMEN'S ELECTORAL LOBBY: I think discussions about late-term abortions is
always a good discussion to have in the community and the changing focus and the changing skill in
technology means that's probably a much more relevant debate.

KIRSTEN MURRAY: And now with medical advances making it possible to keep younger premature babies
alive, a discussion is opening up between women on issues many assumed have been settled for

Kirstin Murray, Lateline.

(c) 2006 ABC |

Pro-choice filmmaker stirs the abortion debate

Pro-choice filmmaker stirs the abortion debate

Reporter: Tony Jones

TONY JONES: Well, to discuss the issues raised in that story, we're joined from London by the
filmmaker, Julia Black.

From Melbourne, we're joined by Dr Leslie Cannold, a Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy
and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne.

And in Sydney, one of the founders of the Women's Electoral Lobby, Wendy McCarthy.

Julia Black, thanks all of you for joining us, by the way.

Julia Black, there's no question your film demonstrates very clearly that images still have a great
deal of power to move people.

What were you actually trying to achieve with this film?

JULIA BLACK, FILMMAKER: I set out to make a film, I suppose, that moved the debate forward in some

I had the idea for the film when I became pregnant and thought here I am as a woman carrying a
foetus which is the heart of what at the abortion debate is all about.

It is whether as a woman I choose to go forward with that pregnancy or if I choose to have an

I've grown up in the abortion debate, discussing it all my life and I felt that it had become, it
was still very, very polarised and it hadn't moved forward and I was finding myself feeling
challenged about certain aspects of what pro-choice meant.

I wanted to make a film that did that, that took viewers on a sense of the journey around the
emotional contradictions that I was feeling and hopefully, as it has done, has stirred a lot of

It's making people re-defend, in a sense, why they're pro-choice and I think that is a good thing.

We need to refine our thinking.

TONY JONES: When you say refine your thinking and move the debate forward, where do you want it to
go to?

Do you have a sense of that?

After thinking about this for a long time, after making the film do you have a clear sense of what
outcome you would like to see?

JULIA BLACK: I suppose I want us to be in a position where we have had a very open and honest

What's been interesting, I think, from my film is from the arguments I haven't seen the
anti-abortion argument moved forward in any way.

In a sense what my film does is stops them in their tracks - OK, you say we need to look at these
images, so we're going to look at them.

You say we need to see the reality of an abortion, so we see that.

I still feel they've got a long way to go to convince people that abortion is wrong, abortion
shouldn't be a legal right for women.

What's been exciting is that the film has the opposite effect for the pro-choice movement.

It forces them to move forward, it forces them to say actually, yes there's a lot of us who are
pro-choice, who do want to engage with the reality of abortion, with the foetal destruction, which
I know has been criticised for its focus on that.

But I think it is important.

I think the foetus has become the property of the anti-abortion movement and, in a sense, I don't
know where I want the debate to go.

I know I want to have a clear defence as to why I'm pro-choice and when I know all the facts and
look at these images and confront the physical reality of the medical procedure.

So I haven't got a clear plan of where I would like the debate to go, but it is very encouraging
what's coming out of Australia.

TONY JONES: Wendy McCarthy you've seen the film, just today.

Where does it take your thinking in terms of this debate?

WENDY McCARTHY, FOUNDER, WOMEN'S ELECTORAL LOBBY: It doesn't move my thinking very much.

I think at one level it is quite an indulgent film and I guess all of us in a pregnancy, especially
a pregnancy that we're in love with after one we've dispensed with and I've been in that position
too, it is a good time to reflect on choices you might have made.

But I think one of the things that it does do that is useful, is it does help establish the idea,
which I think is one of the underpinning things about this, is that every abortion is an individual

Although we make policies about it and although we have class actions about it and although as
women we've pursued the idea that it is our right to choose whether to continue to carry that life,
that potential life, or whether to let it - or whether to dispense with it at that time, I think
that we have to remember that every pregnancy is different.

I would have found it much harder to have a termination of pregnancy after having a baby and I
think it is quite a different pregnancy because this one, obviously in Julia's case, the second one
was a wanted pregnancy and that's the track she went down.

I think the other thing is about confronting the reality.

In women my age who had terminations of pregnancy, there wouldn't have been an opportunity anyway
and many of us wouldn't have done it.

And, in fact, when we first started vacuum aspiration abortions in this country, at least 50 per
cent of women had no desire whatsoever to have a local anaesthetic which is what medical
practitioners wanted them to have, because they don't actually want to see.

They want to be asleep and not confront the reality.

Not everyone wants to see their appendix.

TONY JONES: Let's talk about some of the really gritty realities this film does confront and it is
particularly on the issue of late-term abortion.

There's an extraordinarily powerful scene of a doctor who performs late-term abortions and he
describes what he does - dismembering the foetus and parts of it dropping into a bucket between his

Do those sort of descriptions make you re-think whether there should be limits on late term

WENDY McCARTHY: I don't think it makes me re-think, but having said all of that, I still think it
is a useful film for all of us to have a look at, to remind ourselves that the thing that has been
an article of faith for women my age for a long time is worth re-examining and for that I agree and
I think it is a good film to show.

Nobody would ever pretend it would be other than hideous to be the person delivering and having to
dispose of a foetus at 20 weeks.

That is a tough call.

There aren't very many medical practitioners who can do it with dignity and grace and those who can
are sought after.

Of course there are also small numbers of pregnancy happening at that time and also remember the
reasons for those pregnancies are often about malformation of the foetus, but they're also often
for women who have been victims of perhaps not knowing they were pregnant until they were 15 or 16
weeks, perhaps rape, incest, all sorts of particular circumstances and just knowing that the moral
issue and ethical dilemma for them is that they cannot parent the child.

TONY JONES: All right.

Let me bring Leslie Cannold in here.

What do you say to what you've heard about Julia Black's reason for make the film?

Do you think there's a need for women to think again about these issues?

very particular story.

It is Julia's story, as she says.

She tells that story very well and compellingly.

It is such a particular story having grown up in the bosom of the pro-choice movement.

For most women, they come to their pro-choice beliefs from a different place.

They have to struggle a bit more to get to the point they are where they believe in the pro-choice

I guess my concern about the film is that there's this stress over and over again that we must face
the truth and the reality of abortion that has been hidden.

Now, it may be the case for some people they feel that they need to see those images to know
everything they need to know about a termination and that's fine.

I don't think those images should be suppressed.

The thing we also haven't seen on television and we really don't know about is the stories of the
women and the couples who had to make that painful decision to terminate and what Julia misses an
opportunity to do, which I think would have been so powerful, is that when she showed us that, say
18 or 21-week-old aborted foetus, she could have cut to the story of the woman or the couple that
had to make that painful decision to abort.

I think then we would have known the full reality of abortion.

Then we would have known everything we need to know to decide whether abortion is ethical and
should remain legal.

TONY JONES: Julia Black, what do you say to those criticisms first of all and then I'll broaden the
discussion a little?

JULIA BLACK: I think they're very valid criticisms.

I think I was coming to the film, as Leslie says, from a personal journey that I was going on.

I think we can't make a decision about the morality of late abortion without looking at the woman's
context, but I suppose from my point of view as the film maker these were things I thought through,
and it became very difficult, because it was becoming a very political film in a sense.

It didn't start out that way but that's how it was taking shape.

It was difficult to know whose story to tell because, as Wendy says, every woman has a different
reason and every woman choose abortion for a different reason - her life circumstances, her and her
partner's, emotional security, financial security, their ability to become parents.

So I found that really to begin including, I couldn't just include one woman's story because that
would in my eyes skew the balance of the argument, and then I felt I would be therefore trying to
really too hard to balance out the argument rather than - I felt the crux of the film is about the
emotional contradictions that do exist, not only for me, because I've talked to a lot of people
before making the film, during and after, who also feel, yes, I am pro-choice but I also feel
uncomfortable about abortion, so how do I marry the two?

So I think that's what I'm interested in hearing - is how do we go forward with that argument?

I think we can, and I think we can only do that.

WENDY MCCARTHY: I think that's the success of the film.

That's the success for me, that you do indicate that even though there's some sadness, there's a
lot of reflection in your story about two different pregnancies, there is an understanding that
still you believe that it is a woman's choice.

I think that's my experience.

It is certainly the experience of many women I've worked with in family planning in places where
there have been no regrets really about the first one and again, as Leslie said, not everyone wants
to confront that.

You do, but many people don't.

TONY JONES: I would actually like to direct the debate a little bit here.

I started talking to Wendy McCarthy about the late-term abortion doctor that you've included in the

You were very confronted by that situation, by what he told you about it.

Did it change your feeling, Julia Black?

Did it change your feeling about whether late-term abortion should be permitted, whether there
should be restrictions or laws or time limits, or whether those things should change?

JULIA BLACK: It threw me into a quandary about what I felt about it, to be honest.

When I am interviewing him there, as you can see, I am heavily pregnant.

So to me, the idea of what I'm hearing him saying - dismembering a baby and pulling it out in
pieces -- is obviously horrific.

But at the same time, it is easy to get caught up in that emotion.

And I suppose, how I'm working that through is exactly what Leslie says, is try to talk to women or
couples who find themselves in a situation of having to make that decision.

That's the thing.

I asked the doctor, for example, which I didn't include in the film, but to give me --

He had performed a late termination on a 14-year-old girl who had been raped, and she obviously was
wanting to hide the pregnancy because she also wanted to hide the fact that someone in her family
had raped her.

So I think we really do need to understand why abortion in the late stages has to exist, and not
get caught up in the emotion of. These are very beautiful 3-D images, but we have to look at it
within the context.

TONY JONES: Can I bring you back in here, Leslie Cannold?

That does demonstrate part of the point you were talking about there.

Do you have any moral qualms at all about the idea of when a foetus does or does not become viable?

DR LESLIE CANNOLD: Viability is a big concern of mine and I've written a whole book in fact
revolving around viability and the challenges it poses.

But it doesn't pose a concern for me in terms of my understanding about when abortion is ethical.

That's because I don't focus on the foetus.

So for the anti-choice movement and people who are against abortion, and I think this is part of
the problem with the film - it seems to take this idea on - is that everything we need to know is
based around the foetus, so if it's this age or that age or if it sucks its thumb or looks or acts
like a baby this is how we know abortion is wrong, because it makes it murder, it makes it wrong,
and you don't have no mention women at all.

So for me, it's about the woman and the couple.

Do they make the decision in a responsible way?

Do they understand that their foetus matters, that it's going to become their child, and that
they're going to have a particular responsibility for it?

Do they think about the decision?

Do they not treat it lightly, like it is a hair cut or having a tooth extracted?

If they do, then for me it doesn't really matter if it is at 18 weeks or 21 weeks, because I trust
that they have a good reason.

I trust them.

And I think at the crux of the people who oppose abortion, they talk about foetuses, but really at
the heart of it, it is a distrust of women.

It is saying women can't make these decisions in a rational and moral way.

TONY JONES: Let me ask you a general moral question, if you like, and it is a fundamental question.

Is there any point within the womb that you would say that a foetus actually has rights?

A right to life, let's put it that way.

DR LESLIE CANNOLD: I don't, but only because I find that a really counterproductive way of thinking
about it, because if we start talking about two sets of rights within one person's skin, we run
into what the abortion debate has become - this irreconcilable conflict.

And I'm very much like Julia - I would like to see the debate move forward.

I find it a very unproductive way to think about it.

TONY JONES: Wendy McCarthy, what do you think about that?

Science, of course, boundaries always change as to when a foetus is viable or not viable outside
the womb.

In 10 years time we might find doctors may be able to keep 20-week-old foetuses alive and viable.

WENDY MCCARTHY: We may well.

I would then think of Leslie's position and say we have to trust the woman to make that decision.

Even if the child is physically viable, the woman has to make a decision about what quality of life
that child can possibly have.

And if she doesn't really want it.

Then we get into really tacky stuff about children as commodities being traded for those who want
to adopt, and so on.

These are the other sort of ideas that go around.

TONY JONES: Or children or foetuses as individuals, which is a legal question that's being thrashed
out already.

WENDY MCCARTHY: It is, but I take the view that it is still the woman's responsibility, and it is
the woman who must make that decision.

And I actually believe in the capacity of women to make that decision.

I always have because I also know that they take the enduring responsibility for the child, and I
think that's something that we have to keep recognising.

I think the scary thing about the decision for late-term abortions for women is because the
technology is changing the pressure on them not to do it, even under the most extreme
circumstances, could easily reframe the debate, and maybe that is a useful discussion to have.

TONY JONES: We're nearly out of time.

I just want to go back to Julia, just for a final question.

Did it change your view about the right to life and whether a foetus at some point within the womb
does have a right to life?

JULIA BLACK: I believe the foetus does have a right to life.

Not from the anti-abortion point of view, but I think from talking to the doctor who I talked to,
who also does IVF treatment.

He said, yes, the first few cells have a right.

They don't equal that of the woman, and for him and I think for me, how I've come to understand it,
it is a sliding scale.

I don't know yet for myself where the point is that it becomes equal to the mother.

But I don't believe that the foetus doesn't have any rights at all.

TONY JONES: I'm afraid we're out of time.

It is a very complex discussion.

We could talk about it all night, I dare say.

I thank each of you for coming in to talk with us tonight - Julia Black in London, Leslie Cannold
in Melbourne and Wendy McCarthy.

Thank you.

(c) 2006 ABC |