The Australian Christian Lobby has called on the Northern Territory Government to follow due process by holding an inquiry before removing safeguards and imposing radical abortion legislation on women
ACL Northern Territory acting director, Wendy Francis, said the proposed abortion laws would concern many Territorians who want to protect women and help deliver holistic maternity care.
Yet, today the Government has tabled the dangerous legislation without an inquiry, and without allowing the public or experts in maternal care to inform Parliament.
Given the enormous social and health consequences of liberalising abortion laws, and the lack of health services for many women in remote communities, it would be prudent for the parliament to consult on the issue so that they can make an informed decision.
“It is understood that 142 submissions have been received by the Government in relation to its abortion discussion paper but concerningly these remain private.
“An inquiry is needed to give the public the opportunity to present to the parliament and have members consider the full ramifications of what is proposed prior to voting.”
Ms Francis said rather than provide safer options for young Territorian women, the government was flagging a range of changes that were alarming and dangerous.
“There is great concern within the NT communities in regards to the proposed introduction of the chemical abortion drug RU486,” she said.
“This drug, which allows women up to nine weeks pregnant, to chemically trigger a miscarriage at home is not the safe, easy abortion that the abortion industry would have us believe.
“The abortion process triggered by RU486 lasts a minimum of three days, but women can bleed for up to six weeks.”
Around eight per cent of women who have taken RU486 need a second abortion when the drugs fail to completely terminate their pregnancy and remaining products of conception need to be removed to prevent an infection.
“A woman's life can be placed at risk if she haemorrhages excessively, needs a blood transfusion but is not near an emergency clinic.
“This is of particular concern in the NT with many small settlements scattered across the Territory, and a large portion of the population in remote areas.”
Leading feminist author and publisher, Renate Klein maintains that RU486 abortions have the making of a new wave of DIY backyard abortions with days of agony: haemorrhaging, vomiting, cramping and the danger of sepsis.
“Under the proposed new laws, NT Doctors will be compelled to refer women for a termination if they themselves conscientiously object to performing the abortion. There’s nothing pro-choice about that,” Ms Francis said.
“If these bills get through, pro-choice in the NT will soon mean less choice and less care for women.”