Late last month I listened as Hon Tammy Franks concluded her second reading speech on her bill to deregulate abortion in South Australia.
Her speech though not short of emotion was almost completely without relevant facts.
Instead, her argument was fundamentally ideological, and she relied on the support of abortion activist allies to echo similar views.
According to Tammy Franks, abortion is still a criminal act in South Australia, and now that it’s 2019 this should no longer be the case.
She began her speech by tabling an article entitled Abortion in the Shadow of the Criminal Law? The Case of South Australia. I was surprised she tabled the article considering it commences with the statement:
“We contend that any suggestion that medical abortion is criminal in South Australia, or that medical practitioners who comply with the statutory scheme in good faith run the risk of being prosecuted, is not grounded in an accurate account of the positive law. Nor is it supported by the application of the law in practice since 1969”.
This was the only academic article Franks produced throughout her entire speech.
The one peer-reviewed article relied on by Franks, instead of supporting her ideological push, completely undermined her central argument.
Let’s keep score:
Argument 1 - debunked
She then tried to refute the proposition that her bill would remove the need for doctors’ involvement in abortion. According to her, “that is the point of the Bill” (to require doctors’ involvement).
Unfortunately, she fails to explain (because she cannot) how a bill which simply removes all existing law relating to abortion can require anything.
Apart from creating censorship zones around abortion clinics her bill only repeals existing legislation. It does not create any new laws for doctors or anyone else to abide by.
Laws which merely repeal other legislation do not and cannot require anything.
Argument 2 - debunked
Tammy Franks then goes on to argue that the prevalence of current regulation for health practitioners is enough.
A supporter of the bill went so far as to argue that South Australian law on assault would be enough to stop abortion coercion.
This argument reveals a profound ignorance of both the law and the reality of abortion coercion.
Jaya Taki, an abortion coercion survivor courageously revealed on the steps of Parliament House before Ms Franks’ speech, that coercion occurs behind the scenes.
Jaya signed a consent form. But on the inside, she was in turmoil. There was no one to help her with an alternative to abortion. No one to counsel her through the process.
The law of assault would not assist her, and it will never be able to provide an alternative to abortion.
During Tammy Franks’ first speech on the bill, she went as far as to argue medical abortions should not need doctors to be involved.
If abortions don’t have to be provided by doctors, they may instead be able provided by unregistered health practitioners who wouldn’t be governed by existing health regulations.
The Franks Bill does not and cannot preclude that possibility.
Argument 3 - debunked
Tammy Franks also provided a study of women who were refused an abortion because it was too late to terminate. The study, from the University of California, appeared to claim that children born when their mothers were refused an abortion were 3 times more likely to have poor maternal bonding than children whose mothers did not seek an abortion.
Perhaps Franks saw this as an argument for unrestricted abortion.
What the study actually found was 9% of children born after their mothers had requested an abortion had poor maternal bonding, while 3% of children whose mothers had not sought an abortion had poor maternal bonding.
That means that a full 91% of children whose mothers had requested an abortion had good maternal bonding. And a full 100% of those children had life. A full 100% of aborted children have no life.
Argument 4 - debunked
I am not arguing that SA’s abortion laws are ideal.
Far from it.
They are out of date scientifically in that infant viability is now not at seven months as in 1968 but at least six – or closer even – five months. Our law should change to accommodate this.
We also know that the child in the womb is a living person. We have seen him and her. This should inform our laws.
Tammy Franks’ Bill should never be accepted.
Her own speech shows that her proposal is grounded in mere ideology.