Published: February 24, 2014 – 12:29PM
The Christian Democratic Party MP Fred Nile has come under fire for a controversial post on his party’s official Facebook page linking the death of Charlotte Dawson to a pregnancy termination during her marriage to Olympic swimmer Scott Miller.
Late on Sunday, a photograph of Dawson was posted on the Official Christian Democratic Party Facebook page along with the claim that the “poignant story” of Dawson’s 1999 abortion was “left unmentioned in many obituaries”.
“Many I am sure are now aware of the tragic ending to Charlotte Dawson,” the post said. “It highlights how depression and self-harm can affect anyone.
“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.”
Dawson was found dead on Saturday at her Woolloomooloo home after a well-publicised battle with depression.
The Facebook page extracted a section of Dawson’s 2012 memoir Air Kiss & Tell in which she said she felt “a shift” after the termination.
“Maybe it was hormonal, but I felt the early tinges of what I can now identify as my first experience with depression,” she wrote.
The Twitter hashtag “#teamnile” was written in the corner of a graphic featuring the quote and a photo of Dawson.
In an open letter to Mr Nile, PhD student Angela Williams wrote that she was “disgusted” by the post.
She said her post labelling the comments “inappropriate” had been removed from the Facebook page.
“Since you choose to remove my dissenting comments on your Facebook post I am writing to you here to ask why you think it is appropriate to continue the bullying of Charlotte Dawson after her tragic death,” she wrote.
“It shows that your core motivation is to drive forward your agenda, regardless of any harm that may cause her family and loved ones, or the impact it may have on anyone facing the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. It also shows your absolute lack of regard for anyone struggling with mental health issues.”
Asked if he stood by the post, Mr Nile said: “Charlotte Dawson’s story is a sad tragedy as she, like many, is a victim of depression. Her story needs to be told because, if it could happen to a strong and successful woman such as Charlotte, it can happen to anyone. May she finally be at peace. Our sympathy and prayers are with her loved ones.”