The Australian Christian Lobby has called on the National Rugby League to overturn its decision to clear Panthers star Bryce Cartwright of fault after he paid $50,000 to coerce his former girlfriend, known as Miss X, to abort their baby.
ACL spokesperson for women, Wendy Francis, said the NRL should have a zero-tolerance policy on coercing women to act against their will.
“The NRL’s decision sends all the wrong messages to men about how they can treat women and their unborn babies and get away with it.
“The NRL must reverse this decision so a clear message is sent to players and supporters that treating women like objects that can be pushed around is not acceptable,” Ms Francis said.
“The NRL’s default position should be to support women who are victims of this type of bullying, not to facilitate it,” Ms Francis said.
“Miss X is not the only recent casualty of misogynist NRL culture.
“24-year-old Jaya Taki, ex-girlfriend of former West Tigers’ player Tim Simona also aborted her baby when Simona told her the baby would “ruin his career”.
“Like Miss X, Ms Taki is now struggling with dealing with the emotional aftermath that has resulted from the abortion,” she said.
“It would be extremely upsetting to many women who are subjected to this kind of aggression from their partners to witness how the NRL has endorsed this behavior from its players.
“Like many women, Miss X has been left stranded and her cries for support have been ignored when she most needs it.
“Which women’s support group will stand up for Miss X? Certainly not White Ribbon Australia who now promote abortion to birth even as it acknowledges that is often being forced on women.
“The NRL’s clearing of Cartwright sends an insidious message to all women about where men and powerful societal institutions see the fault of unplanned pregnancy lying.”