The Christian Democratic Party MP Fred Nile has been slammed for using Charlotte Dawson’s tragic death to promote his anti-abortion stance.
On Sunday night, a photo of Charlotte Dawson was posted on the Christian Democratic Party Facebook page, with text lamenting that Dawson’s abortion in 1999 was “left unmentioned in many obituaries”.
The post continued, “Charlotte Dawson revealed in her autobiography how she aborted her child with swimmer Scott Miller because he didn’t want any distractions in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics.”
The graphic featured Charlotte and a quote from her memoir Air Kiss & Tell, in which she discusses how her abortion affected her. She wrote:
“Maybe it was hormonal, but I felt the early tinges of what I can now identify as my first experience with depression.
The picture was shared with the hashtag #TeamNile. Comments criticising the post have reportedly been removed from Facebook.
The audacity of Fred Nile and the Christian Democratic Party in using Dawson’s tragic death – and her struggle with depression – to promote their anti-abortion stance is despicable.
Dawson faced many struggles throughout her life. Her teenaged birth mother gave her up for adoption. She was sexually abused as a child, at the hands of an elderly neighbour. She had a difficult relationship with her stepfather. According to her therapist, she had a tendency to choose narcissistic men. She had long and public fights with twitter trolls and online bullies, up until her death.
And she had an abortion in 1999 – a decision that obviously deeply affected her.
But to claim that having an abortion – or any one of these life events – was the sole cause of her depression? Was the sole cause of her death? It doesn’t accurately represent what clinical depression is. It doesn’t help people who are suffering from depression today.
Most importantly, it doesn’t respect Charlotte Dawson as a person.
Fred Nile and the Christian Democratic Party did not post their meme on Facebook to honour Charlotte Dawson. They did not write about her out of genuine concern for the thousands of sufferers of depression, who struggle with the illness every day.
They did it for the sole purpose of promoting a political point. They did it because they wanted to use her life – her personal struggles – to make an anti-abortion statement.
We did not experience Charlotte Dawson’s depression. Fred Nile certainly did not experience Charlotte Dawson’s depression.
Only she did.