Family First last week introduced a bill into the South Australian parliament aimed at reducing the number of abortions performed in the state by ensuring women are better informed about alternative options.

The party’s amendment of the Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995 requires doctors to provide information about the alternative options of adoption and foster care available to women who are seeking an abortion.

Family First’s SA parliamentary leader Dennis Hood introduced the bill and told Parliament that around 5,000 abortions are performed each year in the state “and Family First believes that this number is far too high—20 every working day.”

“It is important that women seeking abortion have the information regarding these alternatives made available to them. In jurisdictions where laws like this one have been introduced, the abortion rate has dropped substantially,” Mr Hood said.

“This bill is not unusual or radical. Informed consent laws, as they have been called (as I would consider this) are incredibly common worldwide.” Please click here to read the full text of Mr Hood’s speech to parliament.

Meanwhile, in another move to reduce abortion numbers and provide women with more genuine choice, the Canadian Parliament this week started debating a bill which would make it a criminal offence to coerce a pregnant woman into having an abortion.

Known as ‘Roxanne’s Law’, the legislation aims to protect women who do not want to have an abortion but are feeling pressured by a husband, partner, family or employer to do so.

The legislation is named after 24-year-old Roxanne Fernando, who moved to Canada from the Philippines in 2003. In February 2007, Roxanne was found brutally beaten in a snowy ditch outside of Winnipeg. She was murdered by her boyfriend because she refused to have an abortion.

“Many women find themselves in a position of being coerced into having an abortion – an angry boyfriend, angry parents, unsympathetic friends, etc,” the pro-life group Priests for Life Canada said. “Roxanne’s Law would empower pregnant women to take legal recourse when they find themselves facing coercion. Such empowerment could prevent coercion from escalating to violence like it did with Roxanne.” Please click here for more details.

ACL strongly welcomes both the South Australian and Canadian moves to better assist women facing unsupported pregnancies and better protect the lives of vulnerable unborn children.