There are so many things wrong with the story about Bryce Cartwright and his baby with ‘Miss X,’ which died from abortion after Mr Cartwright paid Miss X $50,000 to have the termination, that it is difficult to know where to begin! In this piece, we will look at the top five.
An innocent life has been taken
This should go without saying, but just in case it gets overlooked in discussions of scandal, payments, contracts and cultural issues within the league, the most appalling part of this story is that the life of an innocent child has been taken. This is a grave matter regardless of the circumstances.
The publicity is only because a ‘celebrity’ is involved
Australia has no clear statistics on the number of abortions which occur in this country annually because South Australia is the only state which collects the data, but estimates based on Medicare records put it at between 70,000 and 80,000 deaths annually. This means that even a conservative estimate puts the number of deaths from abortion in Australia at 200 per day. This child is no more special than those who die each day, but the only reason this child’s death is making the news is because his or her father is famous.
Financial pressure is often placed upon many women who seek abortion
There seems to be a fair amount of outrage over the payment of $50,000 made to Miss X. But the truth is that many women are under some type of financial pressure when making the decision to abort a child. Some fear losing their jobs. Some will have to drop out of school or university in order to raise a child. Some, like Miss X, have been told in no uncertain terms by the father of the child that they will not have anything to do with the child. Some cannot afford the expenses associated with a child. And some fear it will see them kicked out of their current accommodation (I recall the story of a woman who had fled a violent relationship and was living in a women’s refuge being told that she would have to leave if she kept the child, because it was a women’s, and not a family, refuge.)
That $50,000 was provided so explicitly in this case does not mean that financial means were used to coerce a woman into having an abortion. So many who describe themselves as ‘pro-choice’ do not consider providing the financial means and social supports for women who are abandoned by the fathers of their children as part of the ‘choices’ they should be providing.
This doesn’t mean Miss X is blameless; she did have options, and despite the pressures she described, could have still chosen to allow the child to live. But the blame is not hers alone.
The response of the NRL is appalling
As awful as this situation is, I am possibly even more shocked at the response of the NRL, and in particular, Penrith General Manager Phil Gould. During a media conference, Gould said:
I think too, for Bryce’s welfare and knowing Bryce for a long time, it was important to me in dealing with the facts of this matter that I was satisfied that he’d acted in a respectful manner and a supportive manner and I’m satisfied in this respect that Bryce has done as well as any young man could in the same situation.
Whatever you think about abortion, can Mr Gould honestly say that Cartwright handled this in a “respectful manner,” a “supportive manner” and “has done as well as any young man could in the same situation”? He paid a young woman $50,000 to commit an act which is still a crime in NSW by ending the life of his child. [As an aside, the lawyer in my head wonders what legal advice he was getting if it ended in him signing a contract to encourage someone to commit a crime; it’s the same thing as drafting a contract for a hit man.]
That he could front the media and suggest this was all “above board” is just extraordinary. I still don’t have the appropriate words to express how flabbergasted I am over this.
Women’s groups are disgracefully silent
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, and so there is always increased commentary around topics particularly relevant to women around this time of year. I am amazed (albeit unsurprised) at the deafening silence from women’s groups about this matter. A young woman is claiming that she has been victimised and bullied by a “fixer” on behalf of a rugby league player, and pressured into a decision she did not want to make. Why aren’t people advocating for her?
The answer is unfortunately obvious: because the issue involves the ‘sacred cow’ of abortion, Miss X is on her own.
Monica Doumit, catholicTalk contributor