There are several other parent’s impact statements which were going to be published tonight, but we felt it important that this story, below, be on its own. It tells a very important tale – of what can happen when governments set out to abuse and discriminate against their own citizens.
Whilst vaccinations, in and of themselves, are known to cause death and permanent injury, the government, in conjunction with the media and the pharmaceutical industry, is leading to the deaths of an unknown number of children and the permanent injury of entire families through its policies. We MUST stand together for the sake of all Australians.
How this vaccination legislation has impacted me, both physically and psychologically.
“Women as oppressed people act out of necessity, not out of choice.”
Today, I buried the remains of my baby that never was, which had begun growing inside of me 7 short weeks ago. She [I know it was a girl this time, just like I knew it was a boy last time] was placed into a hanging basket that was a recent gift from a good friend of mine who you might know from the AV community. In that basket, my baby that never was will nourish my cherished Hoya plant. Cherished because my Hoya came from a cutting that I took from my beloved grandfather before he died… And it has grown beautifully and has always been my living memory of him. While I am not a religious person, it feels comforting for me to keep them together.
Five years ago, in my early thirties, I was pregnant for the first time. I was ecstatic about the journey I was embarking on. My baby wasn’t planned, and certainly wasn’t expected due to being told my chance of having children was slim. But my baby was wanted. I had my worries, but none of them compared to the excitement and wonder that lay ahead. I knew the world wasn’t such a wonderful place, yet I felt safe and secure in the thought that I could bring this baby into the world, with no doubt in my mind that I could care for him and protect him, shelter him from the worst, and that I could always provide for his needs.
Then he was born and all of my expectations were exceeded – I wished I had started a family at a younger age. I declared I wanted five kids much to the surprise of those around me. Those hormones were flowing big time and I was so happy and satisfied in a way I had never before known. I can say without a doubt that my identity as a mother has been the most cathartic, life changing, awakening experience.
This was also the time in my life that I began to question vaccines – Hep B for all newborns seemed ludicrous given its transmission and risk factors – and I thought that babies were vaccinated for serious, high risk diseases, not Hep B or chicken pox. It all started because someone said to me whilst pregnant “ I suppose you won’t be vaccinating either?” to which I gazed back wide eyed and asked “why wouldn’t I get him vaccinated?” I then decided to look at the government’s online Immunisation Handbook and then to the CDC’s ingredients list.
From there it was like, hmm – how do I explain? Losing my religion. Because my religion, my faith in this world revolved around science. Science to me was the research and facts and inquiry and debate and review and discovery and eternal questions. Despite not trusting the government or big pharma, I had never seriously questioned the institution of science, especially not vaccines, because I was so busy wowing out at the New Scientist articles I was always eager to read, or seeing things on Catalyst that were awesome and exciting.
The more I looked into it, the surer I felt that vaccines carried more risks than the diseases they claim to protect against. Back then, though, I was just told to get my GP to sign a CO form and go on my merry way. Oh my, how things have changed so radically for me in the last few years.
Queue the song “These Days” by Powderfinger.
Fast forward to April this year. I was a single mother scraping by on welfare, but frugal and savvy enough that I was able to remain out of the workforce to be present for my son. I was an activist and over the years, have participated in many social and environmental justice protests and projects. I was also working in a volunteer capacity, as the director of a not for profit community food redistribution network.
This April, as I was coming out of a three day delirium caused by illness, I was greeted with the information that the government had announced plans to punish conscientious objectors, and scrap all exemptions bar medical. The timing could not have been worse for me. I felt so weak and powerless from my illness and suddenly here was a boot right to my spine.
While this was about vaccines, it was also about so much more. It was about bodily autonomy vs government ownership – otherwise known as slavery. It was about parents’ rights to informed choices and consent. It was about medical interventions and human rights. It was about manufacturing consent through fear. Blatant coercion, duress. It was the tip of one very sinister iceberg.
Reading the hateful comments on social media news articles immediately had me feeling pushed out – rejected, reviled, ostracised and as though my whole community around me was looking at me with hate in their eyes wishing I would fuck off to somewhere not near them. That’s what the media did.
This in itself was another cathartic event. I was suddenly plunged into survival mode. I realised that I had invested so much time in helping others, that I wasn’t moving forward as a person. I felt this huge urge, and I still do, to break away from this society, just escape and go away to where people aren’t. Rather than caring about all of the families in hardship I saw each week, I was consumed with how I was going to survive – because I knew that this legislation would be the top of a slippery slope and once we started going down, the momentum would gather and before we knew it, we would be facing prison or forcible vaccinations.
Living day to day in survival mode takes its toll. I pulled the pin on our not for profit organisation so that I could focus instead on me and my family. I put my interests before those of the people around me – and part of that had to do with the sense that most people in our communities are elated that we will be finding it harder to make ends meet – and that burned me hard. I saw some of these recipients of our food, on social media saying the most horrible things about people who question vaccines. It was ok for me to put my heart and soul and time and effort into helping my community, people were always happy to take the food – but they were happy for my family to go without, for me to be assessed as less worthy than them to the same welfare support. My sense of community dwindled.
My son is now about to start primary school and he is really looking forward to it. He loves his kindy and has grown so much because of his opportunity to attend. I had come to accept that despite wanting more children, that I had left it too late – and that even though I could raise two children on my own, that it was time to get myself in a position where welfare reliance was a thing of the past – for my son especially, as he doesn’t deserve to live in poverty and continually go without the things many people consider ‘normal’.
I enrolled in a Naturopathy course and decided that I wanted to earn an income ethically – making safe, natural medicines that exist all around us in plants. Despite the depression and fatigue from constantly being in survival mode, I finally felt positive and sure that I was on my right path.
And then I accidentally got pregnant. It wasn’t like the first time. I wasn’t shaking with excitement and busting to scream it from the rooftops. I was filled with dread. I had a very hard choice ahead of me. And for a little while I indulged myself, rejoicing at the life inside of me, the vast potential, the unique and irreplaceable being burrowing into my uterus. I wanted to pretend I could deal with this, that I could see it through.
To know from experience how amazing these creatures are that come from our wombs, it just made things even harder. To know that so many people struggle just to conceive and never do, made this even harder. To know how many women have had their babies pass away before they ever came out, made this even harder. I know the value of my babies – irreplaceable. Yet I chose to end this pregnancy. I chose, instead, not to be locked into welfare for the next five years, at the whim of insecure government payments that could see us homeless if this vaccine legislation continues on the current trajectory. I had to put my first child as my only priority.
“Women as oppressed people, act out of necessity not out of choice.”
I know I will always wonder a million different What If’s – and the EDD will be my worst day that never happened. I am going to be haunted. I already am. Yet I also feel so relieved, because I no longer feel burdened that I’m bringing any more glorious souls into this wretched oppressive world.
I have no family, no real support to help me better my prospects. It’s up to me and me alone. I would have loved that baby immensely, but I would have suffered tremendous anxiety and depression at the thought that I was indulging my own mummy desires at the expense of improving life for my son.
When asked my reason for having a termination I told the clinic doctor that because I am a conscientious objector to vaccines, having a baby now would lock me into five years on welfare, or possibly more – welfare that I couldn’t rely on meeting the requirements for any longer. She wrote it down. I am so glad that they didn’t treat me like a freak when I asked to bring my baby that never was home with me to bury.
When I came in for my procedure, the staff member who was assigned to me told me she read my notes and that she felt so sad to hear that the recent legislation was causing me to make this choice, but that she understood completely. She said that she was glad her children were all old enough to be off the vaccine radar for now, and that she couldn’t have a baby in this political climate either. I wonder if the other staff knew why I was doing it too? Her words soothed me, because she had real empathy for my situation.
I do wonder how many women will make the same choice that I made? And if I was the first abortion case motivated by this legislation? I hope that other women who find themselves pregnant at this point in time feel as though they have choices that extend beyond necessity and survival. I hope that other women have the support, the strength, the resilience, to make decisions based on what they really want to do rather than what they have to do.
If I had a partner and we were making ends meet, or if I’d had the opportunities to access affordable childcare things would have been different for me. I made the best choice that I could under my circumstances – but at least I had the choice at all. Pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion, or anti-vaccine, it just means one can respect another’s choices without agreeing with them. Deep down, I never wanted an abortion – I wanted more kids, at least one – a sibling for my son. But I am very thankful that at least this is one decision they haven’t yet taken away from us – our right to end a pregnancy. I wonder if abortion rights are now also going to come under threat – we know the Liberals aren’t publicly fond of abortion.
Like I said, I am pro-choice – but it’s still sad that its ok to essentially kill a foetus, but that it’s not ok to make informed and loving choices about the babies we do birth. We should all be free from government coercion in our most important decisions – our family’s best interests and our health.
The government knew that these laws would not change our decisions about vaccines – it was a stunt for cheap points executed at a time when the deeply unpopular government was drowning in nation wide derision. It was a weapon of mass distraction. Most people lapped it up. People were foolishly saying “this is the first good thing this government has done” blind to the rights they were giving up all the while.
They claim it was budget savings with community wellbeing as the motivator driving it. But if I did have that child, how would it be a budget savings for me to be stuck on welfare for the next five years – or even more if they exclude our kids from public education entirely?
Consider also that poverty goes hand in hand with disease, and the more that they selectively dismantle welfare the more these diseases will prevail. Cutting my payments, and locking me out of the workforce or further training, is not going to make anyone healthier or better off.
Now here I am, knowingly pouring out such an intimate confession on social media, one that I never thought I would experience. While I am not looking for sympathy or judgement I will probably receive both. But what I want is for people to understand why I would kill my baby inside of me instead of bringing it into this world. It is the most protective thing I have ever done as a mother, and the hardest too.
I made my *choice* out of necessity, out of survival. And I want the government – I want everyone – to know the impact of this legislation on me, and quite possibly many other families. If there is one thing that I have learnt from this ostracizing hate campaign, it is that I am not alone. Not by a long shot.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
“Women as oppressed people, act out of necessity not out of choice.”
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