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Pages tagged "Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2013"
Tas abortion inquiry begins
· August 01, 2013 10:00 AM
This week a standing committee of the Tasmanian Upper House began hearing evidence regarding proposed changes to Tasmania’s abortion laws. Abortion is currently lawful in Tasmania (up to full term) if two medical practitioners agree that the continuation of the pregnancy would involve greater risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman than if the pregnancy were terminated. The laws relating to abortion are contained within the Tasmanian Criminal Code.
The key changes which the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2013 seeks to make include: Removing abortion from the criminal code and placing it in health related legislation; removing all hurdles (eg doctors assessments) prior to 16 weeks gestation; widening the criteria doctors will need to use in assessing mothers with post 16 week old babies; penalising those who would hinder the process of those seeking an abortion.
There were wide ranging contributors giving evidence at this week’s hearing. Local Constitutional Law Lecturer Michael Stokes suggested parts of the bill were unconstitutional and others parts likely to increase the likelihood of doctors performing live birth late-term abortions being convicted of homicide. Victorian Obstetrician Lachlan de Crespigny, who campaigned successfully campaigned to liberalise Victoria’s abortion laws in 2008, encouraged Tasmanian legislators to do likewise, arguing abortion should not be singled out as a crime.
The topic of abortion is always emotionally charged and it appears this rang true during evidence presented to the committee this week. ACL is particularly troubled about this radical legislation as it goes further than any other of it kind and would likely have ramifications for laws in other jurisdictions. In contrast, America is seeing a tightening of abortion laws with some States even looking to ban abortion once a foetal heartbeat is detected (5-6 weeks). Some of the key provisions of most concern in the proposed Tasmanian legislation are:
• There is no legitimate mandate to remove abortion from the criminal code i.e. it is not just another operation, another life is at stake.
• There is no acknowledgment of the existence, or rights of, the unborn child.
• The lack of safeguards for women to ensure that 1. Truly informed consent is obtained, 2. Independent advice is given, and 3. Lack of coercion in decision making in assured.
• The subjectivity of doctors’ need to consider current and future economic and social circumstances of women they are assessing.
• Freedom of conscience issues – compulsion of doctors and counsellors to refer patients on to those without a conscientious objection to abortion.
• Freedom of speech issues – prosecution of protestors around abortion providers.
Please pray for those giving evidence highlighting the problems with the bill and for those on the committee hearing evidence, that they would have wisdom to see through the half truths and see clearly what is in the best interests of both mothers and babies.
MR: ACL urges Tasmania’s Legislative Council to reject radical abortion legislation
· June 11, 2013 10:00 AM
Tuesday, 11th June 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is urging Tasmania’s upper house members to reject the controversial Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill that would decriminalise abortion in the state.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown says the bill – likely to be debated in the upper house this week – has no mandate, and has significant implications for women’s health, for freedom of conscience, and free speech.
“There is no mandate for decriminalising abortion in Tasmania as law changes in 2001 put to rest concerns regarding criminal prosecutions against women or doctors and there have been no such prosecutions since,” he said.
“There are also no significant accessibility issues that would justify decriminalisation when four abortion clinics around the state perform the bulk of abortions and without waiting lists or the need for referrals[i],” he said.
Mr. Brown said under the proposed changes women with unplanned pregnancies will be prevented from making an informed decision.
"The bill essentially opens the door for abortion on demand. Under the proposed laws the currently mandated doctor assessments and referrals to counselling will be removed for those women seeking abortions before 16 weeks gestation. These encompass over 95 per cent of all abortions," he said.
"How can less information result in better decision making? Such a critical choice made on behalf of an unborn child requires women who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy to be supported and supplied with all possible options and potential outcomes. This is especially important at a time when they are particularly vulnerable," he said.
“Beyond this, the bill violates the fundamental right of freedom of conscience by forcing conscientious objectors - whether doctors or counsellors - to comply with a practice they cannot support,” he said.“Those who wish to exercise their right to respectful protest will also face prison sentences if the legislation is passed.”
ACL has recently presented these concerns in a letter to the Legislative Council and says community concern about the extreme nature of the bill has been ignored from the beginning of the consultation period.
“Despite a very short community consultation period, 2000 submissions were received. It was found that 87 per cent of respondents were opposed to abortion," he said.
Mr Brown said a
in February of 300 respondents, aged 16-49 shows Tasmanians are opposed (73%) to late-term abortions (after 20 weeks), when the child has mild disabilities (59%), for the purposes of sex selection (92%), when continuing a pregnancy would cause financial hardship (66%), affect the mother’s career (79%), or when parents feel they have enough children. (63%).
“ACL encourages Legislative Councillors to consider the sentiments of the community before they vote on this controversial law,” he said.
“It is the duty of legislators to protect freedom of conscience and free speech, and to protect the vulnerable by providing help for those women to make a truly informed decision about the welfare of their children,” Mr Brown said.
In April, ACL presented a submission to the Information Paper relating to the bill. Click
to read the submission.
- ends -
1 See article in the Sunday Tasmanian on April 21st where Dr Paul Hyland, a local gynaecologist who performs abortions Said around 1000 abortions (up to 14 weeks gestation) are conducted per year (approximately 20 per week) through his clinics in Hobart and Launceston. A second group, Fertility Control Clinic operates a clinic in Moonah (using fly in doctors). A clinic of unspecified affiliation operates out of Burnie. Dr Hyland estimates the total number of abortions performed in Tasmania at between 1200 and 1500 per year. Note: 95% of all abortions in Australia are performed before 13 weeks gestation (Information Paper P 15).
Tas petition to have abortion bill thrown out
· May 30, 2013 10:00 AM
[caption id="attachment_23590" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Mark Brown"]
A new abortion petition (this is the third one) is underway aimed at the Legislative Council. The petition seeks to have the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2013 thrown out in its entirety. The
closes on the 23rd June. The previous two petitions were focused on the lower house where the bill narrowly passed last month with a few minor amendments. More information about the bill is available at Make a Stand.
A paper version is also available
. If you are a Tasmanian resident, could you please:
Print further versions of the paper petition and make them available for signing after Sunday services. These will need to be compiled and mailed to the address at the bottom of the form before the 19th June. Alternatively you could set up a computer or two after church for people to sign online. People should only sign one or the other.
Encourage your congregation to be contacting upper house members to advise them of their opinions on this legislation. Details on how to do this are available at
Make a Stand
Make a point of praying for our 15 upper house members as they contemplate their response to this and other pieces of legislation to be debated in the Legislative Council this year.
I realise some may feel fatigued at the continued need for action on this and other causes. With such relentless opposition our response, both in prayer and practical action, needs also to be one of continued perseverance, especially with so much at stake.
Thanks for your important contribution in standing for the rights of the unborn.
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