For release: December 6, 2011
The Australian Christian Lobby has called on the Queensland Government to retain the remaining protections for the unborn in Queensland law, and to reject the calls of those who would seek to liberalise abortion law in the state[i] without first taking this as policy to an election.
ACL’s Queensland Director Wendy Francis does not expect that the government would push such a contentious view through Parliament in the absence of a mandate, however said, “We have already seen, with the recent civil unions debate, the willingness of the Government to force controversial legislation through the Parliament with scant regard for public consultation and for seeking the view of the electorate,” said Mrs Francis.
“It would be intolerable if such anti-democratic actions were repeated on the abortion issue given how passionately people felt about it, and the impact that any change would have on vulnerable women and their children.”
Current Queensland laws do still provide support for some women who feel pressured into having an abortion such as the story reported in The Daily Telegraph just this week[ii].
Mrs Francis said that it was a troubling time to be discussing changes to Queensland abortion law just two weeks after a healthy twin boy was accidentally terminated instead of his brother at 32 weeks in a botched abortion at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.
“This is the same hospital which featured in a 2010 Channel 7 news[iii] report showing a marked increase in the number of late term abortions following the legalisation of abortion up to birth even where there is a healthy mother and a healthy baby,” she said.
The Channel 7 news report focussed on the increased trauma experienced by the medical staff as a result of an increase in the number of late term abortions performed at the facility from one a fortnight to around three a week as a result of the relaxed Victorian law.
“Given the mental health consequences of abortion for women, and the clear consequences for the unborn, it is inhumane to put in place legislative changes that could increase the number of abortions in Queensland,” said Mrs Francis.
“As sonogram technology has advanced to such a state that it is impossible to deny the humanity of the unborn child, any remaining legal protection for the unborn was far from ‘obsolete’, as claimed, but in keeping with the fundamental human right to life.”
ACL believes a priority for any law reform on abortion should be to provide assistance to women with unsupported pregnancy, enhance the protections for the unborn including banning partial birth abortion and to gather accurate statistics, as recommended by a 2008 Senate Inquiry[iv].
Senior members of the ALP have today contacted Wendy Francis, appalled that there is even a discussion of this issue at this point in the electoral cycle.
The Australian Christian Lobby calls on the Queensland Government to retain the current protections for the unborn in Queensland law and make no move for such radical change before the up-coming election.
[i] See http://www.couriermail.com.au/ipad/obsolete-laws-still-rule-on-abortion/story-fn6ck620-1226214542101
[ii] See http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/sunday-magazine/i-was-bullied-into-aborting-my-baby/story-e6frf039-1226213124139
[iv] Contained within the November 2008 Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration report http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/fapa_ctte/health_insurance_regs/report/report.pdf