Philobiblon: Thank the judges again

Monday, January 23, 2006

Thank the judges again

While you still have the occasional dinosaur judge making stupid comments in rape cases, increasingly in Britain we have cause to thank them for defending civil liberties, and even women's rights. The latest today is a ruling that parents do not have a "right to know" if their under-16 daughter has an abortion.

Mr Justice Silber ruled that Ms Axon, who has five children - or any other parent - had no right to know unless the child decided otherwise.
He said he would not change the law as Ms Axon's lawyers had requested. Lawyers for the health secretary, Patricia Hewitt, had fought the legal challenge.
The judge added that to force a girl to tell her parents "may lead her to make a decision that she later regrets or seek the assistance of an unofficial abortionist".

Obviously it is preferable for girls to be supported by their families if they are considering an abortion, but those reluctant to do so may well have VERY good reasons for their choice.


Then a gimmick, yes, but I'd go to garage with an all female-staff for preference, even though my upbringing means I can talk "mechanic", even if I'm only talking the talk. (I once had a 45-minute discussion with a mini-cab driver about whether the problems he had with third and fourth gear were the clutch or the gearbox. I then regretted being able to talk the talk.)

Turning serious again, micro-loan schemes for women have proved enormously popular and effective, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, the mother of them all SEWA, has run into political problems in Gujarat. Empowering women, and women from disadvantaged communities, is always likely to stir up those who'd like to keep them poor and vulnerable.

And I get the impression often from talking to Britons that they think Australia is some sort of natural paradise - well no, the cities are often a traffic-packed hell. The calculation for Sydney:
ROAD transport is costing Sydney $1.4 billion a year in greenhouse gas and other air pollution, with the city's heavy congestion exacerbating ill health and climate change.
That is the conclusion of a report by the Centre for International Economics, which also found that over the next 15 years the annual cost of greenhouse gas emissions would rise by almost a third, to $187 million.

Another calculation: "commuters are wasting more than three days of their lives every year stuck in traffic".


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