Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia John Anderson last night strongly criticized the level of public debate in Australia and Western society.
Speaking at the launch of Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: Ethics and the beginning of human life, Mr Anderson lamented the lack of understanding of what a civilized debate requires, and observed that valuable contributors to society’s understanding of complex matters are often put off by the way debates unfold in the public sphere and by the demonization to which contributors are frequently subjected.
“If there’s one thing I can say with absolute certainty after 19 years in public life, it’s that there is no such thing as a good public policy outcome that’s derived from a sub-standard, inadequate, or misinformed public debate. It doesn’t happen. And the West is deep in crisis, frankly, because it no longer knows what an honest debate is. It draws the line at too many subjects that ought to be debated and compromises too many of the debates, such as they are, that we do engage in.”
Professor Jonathan Morris, a respected obstetrician and specialist in maternal fetal medicine, echoed Mr Anderson’s call for reflection and civil debate, particularly in the area of reproductive ethics.
“The beginning of life issues are perennial and important, but the implications of the new genomic era are pressing and urgent” Professor Morris said. “And it’s something we must all reflect upon. We do need to start a debate. We need to discuss whether our significance is really determined by our genetic sequence.”
Author of Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Dr Megan Best spoke of her hopes for the book in similar terms.
“My hope and prayer for the book is that not only will it help those who want to make informed decisions in their own lives, but also that is will precipitate a long-overdue public discussion.”
“I expect that realization of what is happening will come as a surprise to many people, and I hope that many will take the time to read the book and find out for themselves at least about the eugenics agenda of the reproductive business, and the commodification of the unborn which is currently underway. I do not expect that everyone will agree with my take on issues like antenatal screening and abortion, but I would like to see an informed public debate on these issues to make sure that this is something we all, as a community, are comfortable with. It is not just a matter between a doctor and a patient. We are at a point where we are deciding what we require of a child before they are granted full membership to our society.”
Dr Best also wondered what debate might flow from the screening of the ABC television show Dangerous Remedy on ABC TV on Sunday evening.
“I welcome the showing of Dangerous Remedy, which raised the issue of legalized abortion. It portrayed graphically the tragedy of backyard abortions. But it will be interesting to see if the ensuing media coverage includes the fact that maternal mortality fell before abortion was legalized (due to the introduction of antibiotics and improved surgical methods). And will we hear that a study published in Chile this year proved definitively that restrictive abortion laws to do not lead to increased maternal mortality?”
[Fearfully and Wonderfully Made is published by Matthias Media and is being distributed in Australia, the UK and the USA. The book is available now in Australia and will be released in the next few weeks elsewhere.]
Listen to audio from the book launch:
The Hon. John Anderson—a call for civilized debate MP3
Professor Jonathan Morris—the urgent questions science is creating MP3
Dr Megan Best—speaks about her book MP3
Dr John Best—a husband honours his wife MP3
For more information, or to arrange interviews with Dr Best, please contact Ian Carmichael from Matthias Media. High resolution files are also available of book launch photos. Contact: <[email protected]>
Photos: Ramon Williams, Worldwide Photos.