Melinda Tankard Reist is a conservative christian anti-abortion, anti-porn, anti-sex work campaigner, lobbyist, former political staffer, and author. She leads Collective Shout. She describes herself as a “pro-life feminist”. Pro-lifer is perhaps more accurate. Her books include the emotive and anecdotal anti-abortion work Giving Sorrow Words: Women’s Stories of Grief After Abortion. Her extremely selective “research” for the book involved advertising for women whose experience with abortion was shaped by religious guilt, and who would confirm her prejudices with their accounts. She is reported to have advertised in the publications of the Christian anti-abortion group Right To Life.
MTR came to my attention early in 2012 when her lawyers threatened a blogger I follow, Jennifer Wilson, with legal action for alleged defamation. The Streisand Effect kicked in rapidly and MTR received a lot more public scrutiny and criticism than she perhaps expected. Public support for Wilson resulted in the often hilarious #MTRsues thread on twitter, and quite a few articles were published examining MTR and her politics.
Too much has already been written about MTR, so here’s a selection of links to informative articles –
This is the article Wilson and Leslie Cannold quoted MTR’s church affiliation from, apparently incorrectly, but other details are uncontested.
Article by Jennifer Wilson about non-disclosure of Melinda Tankard Reist’s Christian ideology.
MTR was a staffer to conservative Christian Senator Brian Harradine for 12 years, his bioethics adviser. Her lack of formal qualifications or experience were obviously not as relevant to Harradine as her years of campaigning against abortion from a christian perspective. Instrumental in denying women’s reproductive choices worldwide via the ‘global gag rule’ Harradine was a hardline Catholic conservative rigidly opposed to abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage and stem cell research. Articles from Kate Gleeson and The Australian
Women’s Forum Australia – her previous lobby group
MTR campaigned for the Catholic Southern Cross Bioethics Institute
MTR writes that gay surrogacy is a backdoor to dismantling traditional marriage – a typical neo-con coded anti-gay piece.
The USA anti-abortion christian organization National Right To Life gave MTR a glowing review in their newsletter –
Anne Summers takedown of MTR and on Haradine securing the clause in Aust. Aid to prevent counselling or info about safe abortion, despite death statistics for unsafe abortion.
Jill Singer article on MTR
Mia Freedman on MTR
Rick Morton in Mamamia
Article by Chrys Stevenson
Jacinda Woodhead on political concealment of MTR