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Law protects women by guarding innocent unborn

By Julie Borger - posted Monday, 27 February 2017


Thirty-one years ago in the District Court, Justice Fred McGuire interpreted the Queensland Criminal Code to allow abortion to be performed in cases where there is a serious danger to the physical or mental health of a woman.

There is no need to change existing Queensland legislation, as no woman has ever been jailed for or even convictedof an illegal abortion in the 118 years the law has been in place.

And it cannot be argued that abortion is difficult to access, given more than 10,000 surgical abortions and no doubt many thousands of chemical abortions are performed each year in the 16 private clinics in Queensland.

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The existing Queensland law is "far from perfect, but it operates appropriately", according to state political editor of The Courier-Mail, Steven Wardill (9/7/16).

To change this would be to overturn an uneasy social truce, in that while the law states that unborn children should be protected unless there are "exceptional" circumstances, the law is not being enforced and there is effectively a de facto state of abortion on demand.

Thankfully, a Queensland Parliament Health Committee inquiry in August recommended that Independent MP Mr Rob Pyne's Abortion Law Reform (Woman's Right to Choose) Amendment Bill 2016, which sought to repeal all law governing abortion in the Criminal Code, be rejected.

And this month the Health Committee's report on Mr Pyne's second bill, the Health (Abortion Law Reform) Amendment Bill 2016, stated that "the committee was not able to reach agreement on whether or not the bill should be passed".

This bill is just a con job to trick the public into thinking it would protect viable babies. It includes a "requirement" that abortions after 24 weeks would have to be approved by two doctors, however the second doctor would not be required to see or speak to the patient, or even look at her file. And if the rule was broken, amazingly it would not be an offense. There is no penalty. A law without consequences is no law at all.

Unfortunately though, the threat of decriminalisation, which would mean that abortion would be legal in Queensland for any reason until birth, is not over.

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These bills will be debated together on Wednesday night in Parliament and despite the fact that neither bill is fit to be passed, anything could happen - so voters should share with their MPs the many good reasons why the current law should remain in place.

The most comprehensive recent survey of Queensland public opinion, a randomised telephone poll conducted by Galaxy for the Australian Family Association in May last year, found there is no majority support for changing the law to make abortion more accessible, as 42% of votersthink the law is "about right" and 11% say it is "not restrictive enough", making a total of 53% opposed to more permissive laws.

Furthermore, 85% of Queensland voters are opposed to late-term abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and 72% are opposed to abortion after 13 weeks. Even the 50% who would allow abortion in the first trimester are conflicted, as 45% of these are opposed to abortion for financial or social reasons (which comprise about 98% of all abortions).

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About the Author

Julie Borger is president of Cherish Life Queensland.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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