Abortion was already legal in Queensland and there was no need to strip the remaining protections for women and the unborn from the law, Australian Christian Lobby Queensland Director Wendy Francis said today.
Responding to a pre-election questionnaire from ACL, both Labor and the LNP said they had no plans to change Queensland’s abortion laws.
“The people of Queensland expect parliamentarians to honour the commitments their parties make. That should be the end of Rob Pyne’s attempt to change the law,” Ms Francis said.
However, Mr Pyne’s proposal to allow abortion until birth had shocked Queenslanders.
“Community shock at Mr Pyne’s grotesque plan to allow babies viable outside the womb to be killed for no medical reason should also extend to earlier stages of pregnancy,” Ms Francis said.
“We have a situation where in other States, such as in Victoria, parliamentarians are seeking to claw back human rights for the unborn by introducing safeguards for women and children. Yet in Queensland Mr Pyne would have us believe that abortion is manifestly a good thing for society.
“Mr Pyne is saying it is no longer 1889 and abortion should not be illegal.
“He’s right – it is no longer 1889 and we now know that the child in the womb is human, feels pain, that abortion techniques such as dismemberment and poisoning of the unborn child are barbaric.
“We also know that many women and their families are hurting because of post-abortion grief.
“This bill is a betrayal of women. The Queensland Parliament will be failing Queensland women if the only option they can offer for an unsupported pregnancy is abortion.
Ms Francis warns that removing safeguards will lead to a higher rate of of risky ‘do-it-yourself’ abortions without necessary medical consultation and supervision.
“It is misleading to suggest that abortions cannot be carried out legally in Queensland. Queensland women can access abortions easily and do not even need a doctor’s referral if the abortion is done prior to 12 weeks gestation.
“In 2014 more than 10,000 abortions were performed in Queensland which is on par with other Australian States.
“What the community and women are looking for is better options than abortion, which leads to terrible consequences for mother and child.
“ACL would only support a bill which gave support to women such as the need for free independent counselling and ultrasounds, a cooling-off period, parental consent requirements and an increase in pregnancy support services.”
A survey running in the Cairns Post shows that 71 per cent oppose any changes to the abortion laws.
Another survey conducted by Galaxy Research shows that 88 per cent of Queenslanders are opposed to late-term abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, 74 per cent are opposed to abortions past the first trimester and one in two Queenslanders are opposed to abortion for non-medical reasons.
“Not everyone who opposes proposed changes to legislation on abortion is religious, as it is also an intrinsic human desire to protect the rights of children and women,” Ms Francis said.
“As knowledge grows on how a baby’s life begins in the mother’s womb, the community is becoming increasingly alarmed by the high levels of abortions.
“Women deserve better than abortion. They need stronger safeguards such as anti-coercion laws, a requirement for provision of free professional counselling independent of the abortion clinic, coupled with a cooling-off period.
“In addition, much better support services for women are required so they can choose the life-giving alternatives of keeping the child, adopting or fostering – and not feeling that abortion is their only choice.
“The existing law on abortion stands as something of a safeguard against women being pressured by their partners or parents. The existing law also ensures that there is some counselling and assessment by a doctor.
“The ACL call on the Labor Government and Opposition Party to stand by their pre-election pledge saying they would not weaken the abortion laws.
“The ACL sees this as a crucial time for Queenslanders to write or speak to their MP before Parliament sits again on Tuesday. Constituents need to urge their MP to respect the health and rights of women by opposing any bill put forward by Mr Pyne that removes important safeguards.”