Exclusive: Marie Stopes Australia says it only has two weeks worth of face masks left as orders are cancelled in the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia’s largest abortion provider says its supply of face masks and hand sanitiser for carrying out surgical abortions will only last two more weeks after a number of orders from private personal protective equipment (PPE) providers were cancelled or refused in the coronavirus pandemic.
In one instance, a private company cancelled an order from Marie Stopes Australia (MSA) on the basis it was reserving supplies for “health professionals”.
The Texas abortion ban is supposed to be temporary. But our civil liberties are most fragile during times of fear and crisis; rights that are lost are not easily won back. It’s not just our physical health that we need to worry about during this pandemic; it’s the health of our democracy. As is already apparent, a small minority of zealots will do everything they can to use this crisis to eradicate the right to an abortion in America.
“File for the [US government] stimulus for your fetus,” a viral tweet this week advised. “You either get paid, or Republicans will have to admit a fetus isn’t a child.”
Free childcare was one of the goals of second wave feminism, when we took up the cause of gender equity in the 70s. It seemed logical, because children need access to other children and expert care to develop the skills that parents can’t provide, and allowed particularly mothers, as the primary carer, time for paid work and other activities. After all, child rearing was not intended to be the sole responsibility of parents but a community: “it takes a village to rear a child”.
There’s a big benefit for the government by the reduction in the numbers of unemployed on jobkeeker payments. Low-paid female workers are likely to remain in their vital jobs, as will others who are still employed.
This brief glimpse of free care will raise expectations that are unlikely to be met when these one-offs are withdrawn.
Maybe the brief experience of thousands of users of the temporary model will create the demand for a serious revolution in this (and other) community services.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Chief Justice Will Alstergren of the Family Court of Australia – who is also the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia – recognised that parents are “naturally deeply concerned” about the safety of their children in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and will be even more worried about how it will impact upon a parent’s or carer’s ability to comply with parenting orders.
In the highly unusual circumstances now faced by Australian parents and carers, Alstergren CJ continued, there may be situations that arise “that make strict compliance with current court orders very difficult, if not, impossible”.
“This may be caused, for instance, where orders stipulate that contact with a parent occurs at a designated contact centre, which may not currently be operating. Or, the “pick-up” arrangements of a child may nominate a particular school, and that school is now closed. Many state borders are also closed. In addition, there may be genuine safety issues that have arisen whereby one parent, or someone in close contact with that parent, has been exposed to COVID-19, and this may restrict the safe movement of a child from one house to another,” his honour reflected.
“If the parties are unable to agree to vary the arrangement, or if it is unsafe to do so, and one or both parents continue to have real concerns, the parties are at liberty to approach the court electronically and seek a variation of the orders.”
“Also, during this period of dispute, parents should ensure that each parent or carer continues to have some contact with the children consistent with the parenting arrangements such as by videoconferencing, social media, or if that is not possible, by telephone,” his honour said.
At all times, parents or carers must act reasonably, Alstergren CJ reflected.
Maternity rights groups say there has been a rise in the number of women seeking advice about freebirthing owing to pressures on hospitals and new restrictions around birth partners.
More than a fifth of birthing centres and more than a third of homebirth services have closed due to a shortage of midwives and concerns about ambulance response times.
Alison Edwards, of Doula UK, whose 700 members advocate for expectant mothers, says she has seen a threefold increase in calls about freebirthing in the last fortnight.
“Initially women were concerned about staff shortages,” says Edwards. “Now they don’t want to go to hospital at all, it’s about infection.”
Well, not quite.
But he did announce that all childcare – yes, essentially all — would be free from Sunday night onwards for the next three months, with the strong possibility that the new arrangements would remain in place for as long as six months.
During World War II in the United States, another time of great disruption when women were needed in manufacturing jobs as men were shipped off to the front, President Franklin Roosevelt funnelled funding from a wartime infrastructure bill to create and run a network of child-care centres. Without these, there would have been no Rosie the Riveter.
Unfortunately, President Harry S. Truman shut the childcare centres down shortly after Japan surrendered. And judging by Mr. Tehan’s interview on the ABC yesterday, he hopes to follow Truman’s lead. “We would love to be able to go back to the system we previously had in place,” he said.
To put it mildly, that would be a huge mistake.
An unexpected side effect of COVID-19 appears to be that biological sex is both real and mentionable again!
[W]hile men are becoming sicker and dying at a higher rate, women are emerging as more vulnerable to the social and economic sequelae of the virus. Professionally, women are more likely to be teachers, paid carers, nurses, supermarket check out workers, cleaners etc in ‘essential professions’ which are at high risk for exposure to COVID-19. They are also more likely to be engaged in casual or insecure work, and in sectors which are being most heavily affected by escalating closures and lockdowns. The contempt for the wellbeing of women in the sex industry was demonstrated perfectly in Sydney, where the first ’employees’ to be fined for breaching new pandemic regulations were three prostituted women working in a
brothelmassage parlour which was clearly not about to let the risk of communicable disease get in the way of profiting from women’s bodies.
Let’s be perfectly clear – it is not ‘people’ who are being forced into early induction of labour or surgical births as health systems divert resources from maternity wards to pandemic preparedness. It is not ‘individuals’ who are finding themselves wondering if their only choices are to birth their baby in an overrun disease ridden hospital or at home unattended. It is not ‘parents’ crying in the hoarding-emptied formula aisle wondering if it’s too late to rebuild the breastmilk supply they were told was optional. None of this is or has ever been done to any person on the basis of their pronouns – this is all a result of the status of women in patriarchy as less than people on the basis of belonging to the female sex class.
The Wife Drought persists.
76% of full-time working fathers in Australia have a spouse who either did not work at all in the paid workforce , or worked part-time. 15% of full-time working Australia mothers had the same deal.
The Parent Pay Gap is real.
When it comes to total income earned over 40 years, a man without children, on average, will earn $2 million. For dads, this goes up to $2.5 million. A woman without children will earn $1.9 million but for mums it falls to $1.3 million.
Stay at home dads are rare. Ridiculously rare.
Back in 1991, 4% of families in Australia had a stay at home dad. In the year 2016 that increased by a massive 1%. Just 5% of Australian families have a stay at home dad.
Part-time work is still for mums.
When it comes to part time work in families with children under 12, only 5% of dads access it compared to 44% of mums.
Dads aren’t taking paid parental leave offered by the government.
Between 2010 and 2019, 1,236,675 females received the government’s paid parental leave. In that same time period there were just 6,250 male recipients.
Four doctors (two in Queensland, one in South Australia and one in New South Wales) were due to travel this week but the South Australian health department has advised MSA doctors leaving that state will need to self-isolate.