For release: October 8, 2010

Abortion trial exposes lack of support for pregnant women

The compassionate policy response to the circumstances of the Tegan Leach case is to provide greater social support for pregnant women and their unborn children, not remove from law the remaining protections for unborn babies, ACL’s spokesperson on women’s issues, Michelle Pearse said today.

The upcoming trial in Cairns of Ms Leach and her boyfriend Sergie Brennan, who imported the abortifacient RU486 and misoprostol with the alleged purpose of procuring an abortion, is tragically being leveraged by vocal abortion activists to legislate abortion on demand, to the detriment of both women and their children.

“Decriminalising open slather abortion in the same way as Victoria and the ACT not only creates an injustice for unborn children, who would have no legal protection, but is a simplistic response to a much more complex issue,” Ms Pearse said.

“Instead of further entrenching abortion as the most socially-accepted response to an unexpected pregnancy, the State should do more to promote real pregnancy choices for women by providing education about other options and offering comprehensive counselling services.

“We know that the majority of abortions carried out in Australia are because of ‘psychosocial’ reasons, or in other words, ‘I wasn't ready for a child’, which was Ms Leach’s reported reason.”

Abortion activists’ insistence that abortion access be completely unfettered even for an inconvenient pregnancy means that alternatives to abortion are rarely considered, Ms Pearse said.

“Most women are stronger than abortion activists would have them believe.

“There is considerable potential for law makers and GPs, and for society more generally, to provide women with a more positive and affirming message that they have both the financial and social support to proceed with a pregnancy even when facing difficult personal circumstances.”

Mrs Pearse said even those Australians who considered themselves to be pro-choice believed that the estimated 100,000 abortions performed in Australia each year was too high a number, and more could be done to reduce the figure.

Reports from Victoria that there has been a six-fold increase in the number of late term abortions performed at a Melbourne hospital since the decriminalisation of abortion in that state in 2008 is something I’m sure no one wants to see replicated in other states.”

Media Contact: Michelle Pearse 0400 869 107 or Lyle Shelton 0448 602 878