Media Release: Thursday, 9 March, 2006

Richard Thackway, Australian Christian Lobby ACT Director, welcomes new laws, passed by the Stanhope government on 7th March, which increases the penalty for assault on pregnant women.

Mr Thackway claims that Christians should be very encouraged by these new laws. “Mr Stanhope is to be congratulated for recognising the special status of pregnancy and the fact that an assault resulting in injury to a pregnant woman is a very serious offence. It risks not only her life and health but the life and health of her developing baby.”

The Crimes (Offences Against Pregnant Women) Amendment Act 2005 makes assault against a pregnant woman an aggravated offence: such offences carry penalties some 30% higher than those for general offences. Causing serious harm to a pregnancy is now recognised as inflicting grievous bodily harm on the mother and can be punished accordingly.

“The new law makes no change to abortion practices in the ACT and treats the mother and unborn child as the same single legal entity. However, it is an encouraging step towards recognising the rights of the unborn, the most vulnerable group in our society, and in helping to protect pregnant women,” concluded Mr Thackway.

Contact: David Yates