4 things we shouldn't still be debating

2012-09-27 14:25

Georgina Guedes

It's an old truism that there are two sides to every argument. Even the most strongly held point of view can be shaken by truly listening to the philosophies of the other side. However, there are some things where one side of the argument has such weight that I find it difficult to comprehend what the other side is on about. 

In each of these four cases, the rights of the individual concerned do not trample on the rights of any other person. Because of this, I can’t see why anyone feels strongly enough to stand against these views.

These are the four:


I am pro-choice, but I fully understand why some people might not be. On the other hand, I have no idea why anyone, regardless of religious affiliation, would have a problem with contraception. Yet US Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is keen to allow organisations to withhold funding of contraception from its medical insurance members.

Let’s ignore the disease-preventing capabilities of condoms for the moment, and focus purely on family planning. I can’t understand why any couple - married or unmarried - that wants to take responsibility and limit the number of children they produce, shouldn’t do so.

The world is overpopulated. Many people are born, unwanted into poverty-stricken or abusive homes. To ask people to stop having sex is pointless, but to help them to stop falling pregnant is an extremely effective way of preventing a lifetime of misery for them and their never-conceived children.


To Quote Eddie Izzard: "Guns don't kill people, people kill people, but the guns help." People who believe that we should be carrying guns around claim that they have the right to protect themselves. Against what? People with guns.

If we make it illegal for people to carry guns, less people would get shot. This is a good thing.

Gun deaths are a huge problem in South Africa and the United States, but whenever some lunatic shoots a whole lot of people, instead of addressing the real problem, we ask questions like, "Why were children at a midnight viewing of Batman anyway?"

Women's rights

I continue to be amazed by the ostensibly progressive people and countries that still think that men or the government have the right to dictate what women do with their bodies, and by the women who support these notions.

There are people who say that the battle of the sexes was declared a tie long ago, and we should all be worrying about more pressing matters. However, those same people are quick to attack any women who displays views that wade a little too far into the murky waters of feminism.

The new battleground for women isn't the big issues like equal pay or the right to vote (although these are still relevant); it's the myriad small ways that women are marginalised at in society, at home and in the workplace that we need to confront and address.


This is a tricky issue because it can be open to abuse, but if someone is suffering and wishes to die, but doesn’t have the capability to bring about their own death, I see no human reason why their family should be prevented from helping them.

Yes, life is precious, but once it has ceased to be precious to the person living it, that person should be able to choose to dispose of it. And any friend or family member who is willing to help someone end their suffering should legally be able to do so.

By making it legal, there are many controls that could be put in place to ensure that these situations are never exploited. And yet we see the legal systems of progressive countries rejecting the heartfelt pleas of individuals to be allowed to die. It’s inexplicable cruelty to me.

Further debate?

Obviously, the fact that these debates are still alive means that there are people out there whose views are different from mine (if there's one thing that being a News24 columnist has taught me).

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

Send your comments to Georgina

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

  • bern1975 - 2012-09-27 14:44

    Stop giving Mitt Romney stick...we're in the good old RSA and not the USA. Why not rather use the more relevant example of how almost all of our extremely expensive South African medical aids simply don't cover contraception including 'the pill' and condoms.

      jpstrauss - 2012-09-27 15:09

      Condoms are free or cheap, depending on where you go. "The pill" costs around R200. If you can't afford that, you sure as hell can't afford the 1% chance of getting pregnant.

      andrew.arnesen - 2012-09-27 16:08

      Why not give him stick? The good ol' US of A has a huge impact on what happens to everyone, including us. If that retard Mitt Romney gets into power, what do you reckon the chances of America deciding to do "regime change" in Zimbabwe are?

      arthur.hugh - 2012-09-28 12:58

      Erm JP for many wage earners R200 is a LOT of money, and it's the poverty stricken folk who end up having 6 babies they can't afford. As for condoms - freely available at any government clinic.

  • jpstrauss - 2012-09-27 15:03

    Let's see: Contraception: If you don't want to get pregnant, use a condom or the Pill. Murdering a distinct human being because you made a "mistake" is outrageous. You treat the problem, not the symptom. Guns: I demand the right to carry a gun because I wish to defend myself against CRIMINALS with guns. Women's rights: Societal decline ALWAYS correlates with women's suffrage. Women tend to support left-leaning politics and when the parasite gets too big, the whole nation dies. Euthanasia: If someone wants to die, they should be allowed to do so and if they want assistance, they should get it. What you decide to do with your own life is between you and God(whether you believe in Him or not).

      QuestioningFaith - 2012-09-27 15:31

      Methinks you're confusing 'contraception' with 'abortion'. Not the same thing. And many religious folk protest against contraception. That was the point!

      licence.tothink - 2012-09-27 15:34

      “Societal decline ALWAYS correlates with women's suffrage. Women tend to support left-leaning politics and when the parasite gets too big, the whole nation dies. ” It is a rather terrifying thought that people making statements like these also want to walk around with loaded guns.

      jpstrauss - 2012-09-27 15:35

      That IS kind of dumb. Personally, I'm all for a future devoid of the offspring of vegans and assorted cultural marxists.

      QuestioningFaith - 2012-09-27 15:55

      Indeed Licence. Indeed. How he knows so much about all of human existence to make a claim \always\ no-one knows. Maybe it was sent to him in some kind of personal revelation? Or maybe it is handed down dogma? But you have to be really stunned by how sure this guy is of his sentiments. And the whole coercibility of women (\they tend to vote...\) is quite frankly hilarious!!!!

      jpstrauss - 2012-09-27 16:09

      Doesn't anyone pay attention to surveys or history anymore?

      QuestioningFaith - 2012-09-27 17:58

      Oh do enlighten us then! Aren't you just a sea of information?

      gungets.tuft - 2012-09-28 05:33

      @JPStrauss - Seriously. Gun carrying carnivore, completely against abortion (even though Georgina never mentioned abortion anywhere) but happy to eliminate human beings that choose not to eat meat (because all vegetarians are liberal, leftist, cultural marxists). We will be left with people who gather around a braai, practice their karate and kickboxing, settle their differences with guns and keep their wives voteless and in the kitchen, pregnant as a bonus. You realise that your wife is going to struggle without her job as a dance teacher - I mean surely that sort of culture is going to lead to decline and demise of civilisation as you see it?

      mike.bundy.73 - 2012-09-28 07:31

      Pro choice means pro abortion -

      jpstrauss - 2012-09-28 09:38

      I see lots of hysterical hand-waving and very little in the way of supporting facts.

      LanfearM - 2012-09-28 12:18

      @ jpstrauss - hmm, lots of hand-waving to be sure. Yet where are YOUR facts and figures and references for the claims you make?

      arthur.hugh - 2012-09-28 13:00

      JP you're missing your DUNCE cap.

      jpstrauss - 2012-09-28 14:38

      You can read anything on the Roman Empire for one.

      QuestioningFaith - 2012-09-29 16:29

      Hey boys! Did you hear? Rome's collapse could have been entirely prevented if women stayed where they were supposed to: in the kitchen! Hehehehe

      Licence - 2012-09-29 21:31

      I rather enjoyed jp's spectacular display of intellectual suicide. I will forever keep this page on my favourites bar for future amusement.

      jpstrauss - 2012-09-29 21:55

      I'm just the messenger.

      jpstrauss - 2012-09-29 21:57

      I would also urge you to learn the difference between correlation and causation.

  • John - 2012-09-27 15:30

    What about knives, do you think we should ban them, ropes, what about those, uhm cars, yep there's a killer for you, alcohol, and oh no what about cellphones, oh the horror.

      andrew.arnesen - 2012-09-27 16:12

      I could kill you with a spoon, so I suppose we have to outlaw them as well ;)

      juannepierre - 2012-09-28 05:31

      Guns are made to kill, nothing else. Rope, tie a present. Knife, cut my steak. Car, obvious. But hahaha, very clever boys, very clever indeed.

      mike.bundy.73 - 2012-09-28 07:36

      The point is that murderers will always be so, guns are just a tool. If you outlaw the guns then the murderers will just change tools - the murder rate is unlikely to change.

      david.questioner - 2012-09-28 08:05

      If you outlaw guns, lawabiding citizens will not have firearms, but criminals will still have.

      thys.reeder - 2012-09-28 10:42

      Gun control defined: The theory that people who are willing to ignore laws against rape, torture, kidnapping, theft, and murder will obey a law which prohibits them from possessing a firearm.

  • sean.odonnell.1466126 - 2012-09-27 15:41

    I am confident in saying that the majority (>90%) of all gun crime is committed by those who are carrying guns illegally, ie without license to do so. Thus, making it illegal to carry a gun will not reduce the number of gun crimes - it will only serve to disarm law abiding citizens.

      juannepierre - 2012-09-28 05:34

      Those guns started as legal ones...

      juannepierre - 2012-09-28 05:36

      Every comment here is ridiculous, please, all you gun carriers enlighten me as to the amount of times that gun has saved your life. Please.

      juannepierre - 2012-09-28 14:24

      @quick well sir, your argument is based on fear not on fact. Fear is something for children and the dark.

      seanrossouwslr - 2012-10-03 21:53

      @Juanne. Have a look at how Australian crime has risen since the banning of all semi-auto civilian firearms a few years ago. Now look at crime rates in highly armed societies such as Israel and Switzerland. Come on, facts, as you say...

  • chris.shield - 2012-09-27 15:49

    I agree with you on all points but the gun issue, banning inanimate objects, be they guns, drugs or fast cars merely pushes the sale of these items underground. If cars were limited to a 120km/h top speed there's be roaring underground trade in unlimiting them. You can't ban things out of existence, the only way is to keep it above board and control who has access to these items...

      chris.shield - 2012-09-27 15:56

      Just to illustrate my point, it is nigh impossible to licence a handgun in the UK, (their olympic pistol team practice in europe!) And yet gun crime is rife in certain neighbourhoods...

  • gary.landman - 2012-09-27 16:01

    Mitt Romney wants stop the madness that forces persons or groups who do not believe in contraception, i.e. the Catholic organisations and others from being legally bound to pay for that service within their own organisations and be criminally chargable if they do not. You are confusing rights with imposition of Big Government intervention. Seems as if that equates to "No Rights" . Condoms are free at most clinics. Get off of your back and go there to get some. Do women not realize that they are reducing themselves to sexual objects by arguing (without having all of the facts) about sexual freedom. I think that you have to realize that you can screw who and how many you want..just do not force ME to pay for it!

      appeliefie.druppeldou - 2012-09-27 16:20

      It's cheaper for insurance companies to provide birth control than the healthcare surrounding the extra pregnancies. Catholic employers want the right to force insurance to not provide birth control even when they don't explicitly pay for it. There are also many other reasons for women to be on BC than preventing pregnancy. Also, drugs like Viagra are covered and surprisingly no-one raises a stink about that. Take your backward beliefs and shove them.

      gary.landman - 2012-09-27 17:07

      @appeldiefie... as I said, BC is free at all clinics. Go there and get some. Self determination is not a backward belief.. but socialism is. I see you are comfortable in your forward thinking belief that those who work for a living have to support the drones in their never ending quest for stuff paid for by others. What happened to abstinence? Are you saying that I am responsible for every womans lack of self determination? Say no..if you really cannot say no, get off of your back, go to the free clinic and get some.

      denny.cray - 2012-09-28 12:01

      @appeliefie - "It's cheaper for insurance companies to provide birth control than the healthcare surrounding the extra pregnancies" If that really is the case do you think government would really have to force insurance companies to do it? Are you an entrepreneur? If so do you think a panel of government officials sitting hundreds/thousands of kilometres away (and often who will have never actually worked in your or any industry) have a better idea of how to be profitable in *your* business than you do? I actually work in the insurance industry. Cost/benefits are *always* looked at. Every day. Private business has a motive to make profits. Politicians don't.

  • ever.ryman - 2012-09-27 16:59

    You are somewhat naive if you think that banning guns is a good idea. Do you think that criminals will suddenly become clean -living law abiding candidates for a Nobel Peace prize? Do the police get issued with an old-fashioned British bobby type truncheon only? By all means, make sure that effective regulations are in place to weed out the (obvious) nutters. Make sure that prospective owners demonstrate that they are competent to handle them and store them in a safe and controlled manner. Banning guns entirely will create a black market second to none. It didn't work for alcohol (look at Prohibition in the 1930s)and it won't work for guns either.

      alan.jerrold - 2012-09-27 17:11

      You are 100% true Ever.ryman. Georgina is right that the gun issue need not be debated. You can't debate this isuue, it's just stupid to say 'guns must be banned'. All you do is stop law-abiding citizens from defending themselves, and give criminals (who can ALWAYS get illegal guns) free reign. So, no debate.

  • tiresias.watiresias - 2012-09-27 17:37

    How many crimes are committed with legal guns? If there were no illegal guns, if the Police themselves did not 'lose' hundreds of guns per year, you might have an argument. For the rest, I agree.

  • trueblue.andreal - 2012-09-27 17:50

    very naive making guns illegal==> the law is no hindrance to the wicked - thats why they are wicked. Only the law abiding will suffer under such a law, becoming defenceless.

  • andy.plant.16 - 2012-09-27 18:07

    Georgina, I agree with your views on the first three points. I do agree with euthanasia but I don't believe it can be adequately controlled. Where I really differ from you is in the view that merely because you believe something so strongly, that the debate should be shut down on that issue. Maybe you did not quite mean that so why don't you clarify this point?

  • allankim.harrison - 2012-09-27 19:26

    "If we make it illegal for people to carry guns, less people would get shot. This is a good thing." It is illegal to carry a gun in most all states without a license to do so. To obtain that license you must pass a back ground check, submit finger prints and a photo of yourself. The people that submit to that process are not the ones walking around shooting people and doing drive by shootings............Your assertion is void of logic. Most all large cities where it is completely illegal to carry a gun are the very places you find the highest rate of gun crimes.

  • zaatheist - 2012-09-27 19:53

    Agree with the issues raised - the gun issue being the exception. As has been pointed out, removing guns from law abiding citizens means that only the criminals are armed.

      hannesenbrianda - 2012-09-28 05:06

      I think what she is trying to say is remove all guns. Australia did it to a large extend in the late 90's and the gun motivated crime has reduced significantly.

      gungets.tuft - 2012-09-28 05:50

      If they were law abiding citizens, and secured their firearms properly, then the criminals would not have the stolen guns. Just saying.

      malcolm.james.macleod - 2012-10-02 15:15

      Yes gungets, because there is absolutely no way that criminals might obtain guns illegally other then stealing them from gun owners. They can't possibly smuggle them over the border for example... I'm not necessarily pro gun ownership, but the simplistic 'argument' put forth by the author here is pitiful and naive, it smacks of the general attitude people have that making something illegal will simply stop it. How has that worked for prostitution, speeding, alcohol, drugs? The notion that criminals will simply stop carrying firearms just because it is against the law would hillarious if it were not so sad :/

  • mike.bundy.73 - 2012-09-28 07:47

    Oh dear Georgina, when did you become so anti-freedom?

  • davidjjacobs - 2012-09-28 08:48

    I'm a law abiding, male citizen. I pay taxes, help raise children. And I own guns. Except for their express purpose of "killing", I enjoy their associated history, culture and practicing the art of markmanship. It is a ridiculous statement that it should not even be a debate that I should be allowed to own my heirlooms, passed down through generations. These weapons are my property, and if you want disown me, you are proposing a violation of the current constitution, and thus a move towards a very slippery slope... Is that what you are, practically speaking, proposing, Georgina?

      klas_goran - 2012-09-30 09:41

      So what to Do about the growing violence in SA. Do you have any suggestions? Many people fear walk alone outdoors, some even say they must consider what they say. So what to Do about the sinking SA? More freedom by allow people fear weapon?

      flysouth - 2012-09-30 12:36

      @klas_goran You need to get it out of your head that people like davidjacobs and me, legal gun-owners, are any threat to any law-abiding citizen! The growing violence is nothing to do with such people who are not the ones committing the crime and violence with their guns according to the SAPS! - those using guns for violence in the course of criminal activity are CRIMINALS - and they do not obey any law and certainly will not obey any law demanding that they apply for licences - it is laughable to suggest so! However when a majority of law-abiding people are armed this serves as a deterrent to all criminals knowing that they are unlikely to meet a cop but more likely to meet an armed person during the commission of their crime. This was well-proven in Florida, USA for example, where after a spate of rapes and murders the law was relaxed to allow easy ownership of firearms, which led to an 80% decrease in such attacks! It was not so much that the perpetrators were being shot by the law-abiding, but simply that the perpetrators now knew that their 'workplace' was much less safe for them!

      klas_goran - 2012-09-30 13:04

      Dear Flysouth. We can debate without telleing each other we are stupid cant´t we? I mean debate without anger. It is interessting you compare with the US. There you have a country defending \the freedom to wear weapon\. Time after time there are killings by guns in schools..This killings has not been done with defined criminals...I do not think that you will kill because of your weapon, this is more related to the discurse or maybe even the South African paradigm there killing is something around all of us....How will you change this? What to do? You are far away from the Rainbowe nation. How to reach it? Not by allowing people to wear weapon, for sure not. You want a gun to protect yourself. That means you are scared. This fear is a threat in itself. I guess there is a great need to adress the issue of violence. That is something the national government must face and take seriously. I know this isn´t done over a night but sometimes it has to start. \r\nSorry for misspelling

      flysouth - 2012-09-30 18:30

      @klas_goran Where have I called anybody stupid? Read again. The school and other 'random' shootings seen in the US are much more rare in SA - we do not see such 'random' violence very often here. Many such incidents in the US have been carried out by mentally disturbed individuals. I do not believe those incidents represent a valid analagy to SA at all. And our firearm licencing requirments and system are very different to the US - much more strict in all cases and in all states of the US. The violence we see here with guns is overwhelmingly during the commission of crimes such as hold-ups etc and the majority of guns used are not and were never legally licenced, but obtained on the black market, which is fed by smuggled weapons. You simply cannot get a licence for an automatic weapon like an AK or a R4 rifle etc, as a civilian, except under very special and very strict circumstances as a collector - and then even such licences are exceedingly rare. The Rainbow Nation is a myth and the notion in any event has clearly not taken root amongst the criminal fraternity who are willing to commit extreme violence to obtain what is not theirs. Thus it is necessary for any prudent person, not wearing rose-tinted spectacles to take the necessary steps to ensure that he and his family and even neighbours can be protected. Any other course of action is foolish and shortsighted since it cannot be denied that 'when seconds count, the cops are only minutes away".

  • carl.behrens - 2012-09-28 09:50

    I agree with 3 out of 4 of your statements. But regarding guns: Banning guns for ordinary citizens will result in a situation where the only people with guns are government agencies and criminals. Currently there is no distinction between the 2 anyway. The biggest criminal organisation in the country is the SAPS. The only reason you still own some property and have some from of freedom is because some citizens are still armed despite the governments best efforts. If everyone is disarmed, you become easy pickings for the tinpot dictators running the show.

  • un.believable.927 - 2012-09-28 10:06

    While I agree with you for the most part, your outlook on gun control is shocking in it's poor understanding of gun crime and gun related violence. Simply quoting a blithe remark made by Eddie Izzard does not make your argument any more valid. Criminals don't pay R7000 for a new Glock pistol and then go through another R1000 odd rands of competency training and application processes to get their legal gun. They go and find something for a few rands on the black market. So preventing legal gun ownership only disarms the law abiding citizen and makes him or her defenseless against an armed attacker who would have an illegal gun anyway. The real problem is not the fact that someone shot a whole lot of people in a movie theatre, because no matter the gun laws in place he would've done it anyway, but the fact that no one shot him within seconds of his rampage starting.

  • thys.reeder - 2012-09-28 10:21

    Rule #1 of the Errornet: Everything is up for debate Rather ironic that you portray yourself as a champion for certain rights yet you seek to have the rights of others being taken away. George Orwell, eat your heart out.

  • denny.cray - 2012-09-28 11:32

    Contraception - I believe in it and I think others should use it to. That doesn't mean that insurance companies should be forced to include it as part of their medical package. You are forcing everyone who wants medical insurance to pay for something they may not need or be morally/religiously opposed to. You say you are pro-choice ... shouldn't people be allowed to chose between a medical aid which does provide contraception coverage and one which doesn't? (I would be just as opposed to a regulation which forced medical aids *not* to include contraceptive cover) Guns I hate guns. Banning them however will not magically disarm all the criminals. The technology is out there. I've seen makeshift guns cobbled together from scrap. (Sure they may only be able to fire off a round or two but that is enough, right?) Women's rights Of course. Women are individuals. They should be treated *exactly* like men with no special rights or restrictions. i.e. legislation should never discriminate for or against them. Your value should be determined by your talent and efforts and not what is between your legs. No gender bar, no affirmative action. Euthanasia Sure. We are more humane to sick pets than we are to terminally sick people.

  • Michael - 2012-09-28 13:43

    Romney is a disease. As is that Akin idiot. Both republicans.... coincidence?

  • lauren.lopes.14 - 2012-09-29 20:38

    Perhaps the reason that these issues are still under debate is because evidence is sometimes more powerful than beliefs formed purely by popular social opinion. Have a look at this or just Google the topic yourself. Most of all, do your research if you are going to post such inflammatory opinions - unless of course sensationalism was the point.

      QuestioningFaith - 2012-09-30 10:08

      I think the *last* sentence of that zenit article is indeed quite apt. And for the record, no one was \pushing\ any agenda here. In any case: the lofty halls of the Vatican say very little about poverty stricken Africa, not to mention HIV-born infants, to name just one point. No one should be forced to use contraception; but the freedom to use it, should also not be supressed. And *that* my dear, was the point of the article here. Ironically, it is also clearly expressed in the last paragraph of the zenit article there...

  • flysouth - 2012-09-30 18:17

    And why has News24 deleted my comment explaining the source of illegal guns in criminal hands?

  • tc.convulvulous - 2012-10-02 01:51

    Georgina, I STRONGLY disagree with you on some of you issues, particularly on the GUNS issue. There is a black lady who is alive today because I coincidentally had my gun with me when she was savagely attacked. Istead of simply walking past I fired two shots into the ground and shouted that the next shot will kill. The attackers fled and the terified black lady survived.. ..because I have a gun. Take my right to own a gun away and I will carry one illegally! 'It is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have one!' I may reconsider my position the day the pathetic police in this country get back reasonable control and non-Black lives are no longer free-game. Until then, your rhetoric is simply wasted on me.

  • cronje.fourie - 2012-10-02 09:05

    As Eddy correctly pointed out "Guns don't kill people, people kill people". And as you've probably read in our news papers people in South Africa are using bricks, pangas knives and various other weapons. So which of these should be banned? There are countries in the world where there is a correlation between gun-control and murder rates you'll find these are countries like Singapore, China the UAE...You'll obviously notice that they all share a common trait ie the death penalty would you like to open the debate on that?

  • anele.mveku - 2012-10-03 13:10

    Totally disagree with the Gun issue.

  • johan.fou - 2012-10-04 10:39

    Why did you have to bring guns into this knife battle? An extremely small percentage of firearms used for violent crimes are legal. If you make guns an illegal item to possess, there will still be (probably the same amount of) illegal guns out there. By outlawing the possession of guns, you are doing nothing more than disarming the innocent who want to protect themselves. Or have you not heard of the 16 incidents the past 3 months where people and their families were saved from attackers by using their firearms for self defense. Have you never read articles like that of Liam Kleyn?

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