MEDIA RELEASE



17 April 2013



The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed disappointment the Tasmanian House of Assembly passed legislation to decriminalise abortion overnight.



Tasmanian Director Mark Brown asked why Labor MHAs supported the legislation despite acknowledging in their speeches that terminating a pregnancy was the hardest decision for a woman to make.



“If abortion is the most difficult decision for a woman to make and one not taken lightly, as a number of MHAs said last night, then why are we treating it like any other medical procedure? We’re talking about another life, not just a woman’s livelihood,” he said.



“Is it a decision a woman doesn’t want to make but which she feels she has no option to because of lack of support– whether financial, emotional or psychological? It takes courage for a woman to choose to keep her baby in these circumstances.



“Legislators have a duty and responsibility to address the issues of society and not avoid the hard and costly questions. If the support structure isn’t there for women to make the decision – then this is the issue MHAs should be addressing.



Mr Brown applauded opposition MHAs for voting against the legislation for its lack of process.



“There has been insufficient time and good process devoted to this bill. It has been rushed through without genuine consultation with the community,” he said.



Despite passing in the lower house, Mr Brown said ACL supporters will continue to fight the legislation and were hopeful the upper house would consider the impact the legislation would have on babies, women and families.



ENDS



Background

• On 8th March 2013 Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne announced details of her draft Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill. The draft legislation and discussion paper were open for consultation until March 22.

• Submissions to legislation extended to the 5th of April. Department received 2,050 submissions. Michelle O’Byrne said that 87 per cent of submissions were against abortion.

• 11th April Michelle O’Byrne tables bill and amends legislation to lower the age of unfettered abortion from 24 down to 16 weeks.