Removing safeguards for women by liberalising QLD abortion laws must be rejected by the Labor Government and Opposition MPs, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
A report in the Cairns Post indicates that independent Cairns MP, Rob Pyne, is planning to present an abortion bill, with ACL understanding it could be as early as next week.
ACL QLD Director Wendy Francis warns that removing safeguards will lead to a higher rate of of risky ‘do-it-yourself’ abortions without necessary medical consultation and supervision.
“It is misleading to suggest that abortions cannot be carried out legally in Queensland. Queensland women can access abortions easily and do not even need a doctor’s referral if the abortion is done prior to 12 weeks gestation,” Ms Francis said.
“In 2014 more than 10,000 abortions were performed in Queensland which is on par with other Australian States.
“What the community and women are looking for is better options than abortion, which leads to terrible consequences for mother and child.
“ACL would only support a bill which gave needed support to women such as the need for free independent counselling and ultrasounds, a cooling-off period, parental consent requirements and an increase in pregnancy services.”
A survey running in the Cairns Post shows that 75 per cent oppose any changes to the abortion laws. Another survey conducted by Galaxy Research shows that 88 per cent of Queenslanders are opposed to late-term abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, 74 per cent are opposed to abortions past the first trimester and one in two Queenslanders are opposed to abortion for non-medical reasons.
“Not everyone who opposes proposed changes to legislation on abortion is religious, as it is also an intrinsic human desire to protect the rights of children and women,” Ms Francis said.
“As knowledge grows on how a baby’s life begins in the mother’s womb, the community is becoming increasingly alarmed by the high levels of abortions that are occurring in Queensland compared to in other parts of the world.
“Women deserve better than abortion. They need stronger safeguards such as anti-coercion laws, a requirement for provision of free professional counselling independent of the abortion clinic, coupled with a cooling-off period.
“In addition, much better support services for women is required so they can choose the life-giving alternatives of keeping the child, adopting or fostering – and not feeling that abortion is their only choice.
“The existing law on abortion stands as something of a safeguard against women being pressured by their partners or parents. The existing law also ensures that there is some counselling and assessment by a doctor.
“The ACL call on the Labor Government and Opposition Party to stand by their pre-election pledge saying they would not weaken the abortion laws.
“The ACL sees this as a crucial time for Queenslanders to write or speak to their MP before Parliament sits again on Tuesday. Constituents need to urge their MP to respect the health and rights of women by opposing any bill put forward by Mr Pyne that removes important safeguards.”