Fury at new abortion law

Protesters on the Day of the Unborn Child in Sydney on 26 March. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Laws that would make abortion legal – up to birth – will be put before Queensland Parliament next month.

While abortion is technically illegal in Queensland, the prohibition against it is not enforced, with the Queensland Law Reform Commission estimating that up to 14,000 babies are aborted in the state each year.

The proposed changes have been met with condemnation by Brisbane’s Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Queensland Liberal Senator Amanda Stoker.

Ms Stoker said the proposed changes are “devastating” and that it would be better to introduce laws to support families by making adoption easier.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge

“Already around 14,000 Queensland babies annually are lost to abortion, and that number will only increase if this proposal becomes law,” she said.

“Every terminated pregnancy represents the life of an individual ended, in circumstances where that child had no power to defend themselves.”

Archbishop Coleridge said when talking about abortion there are two lives involved in the discussion, “both of which matter”.

“It is a health issue, but it is not only a health issue. At a deeper level it is patently a moral issue that concerns the common good because it is about questions of life and death.”

Queensland Liberal MP Mr Robinson agreed that abortion is a “sensitive and personal issue for many Queenslanders that has far reaching implications beyond health”.

“I support the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition Deb Frecklington [on Monday] that the LNP  ‘has strong views on (abortion) , many of our members have strong views on it, and that’s reflective of the general public,'” he said.

“What we saw just last year in the Parliament was a piece of abortion legislation that was completely abhorrent and was rightly rejected.

“We now need to wait to see the detail of this legislation before further comment can be made.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed on Monday the introduction of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 into Parliament on the week of 16 August. Premier Palaszczuk described the existing law as “archaic”.

“This is a very proud day for me to be able to stand here to say that this is a health issue for a woman,” she said. “This is about bringing Queensland into the 21st century,” Premier Palaszczuk continued.

If passed, the new law would permit a doctor to abort a child for any reason up to 22 weeks.

After 22 weeks gestation, an abortion can still be performed if two medical practitioners consider that the abortion should be performed, having regard to all relevant medical circumstances, the woman’s current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances, and professional standards and guidelines applicable to abortion.

In addition, the law will impose exclusion zones around abortion clinics, punishing with up to 12 months imprisonment.

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