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Australian state set to vote on radical new abortion law later this month

by | Oct 9, 2018

By Dave Andrusko

Protest: More than 600 people joined a lunchtime rally outside Toowoomba city hall on September 26 voicing opposition to the Government’s proposed bill to legalise abortion.
Photo: Mark Bowling

Queensland, a state in northeastern Australia, may be about to confirm the worst fears of pro-lifers, according to Catholic News Network (CNA).

On October 5 a parliamentary health committee supported a radical expansion of abortion—“up to 22 weeks gestation and until birth with the permission of two doctors.” Currently abortion is illegal in Queensland “except when a doctor believes a woman’s physical or mental health to be in serious danger.”

As has been the pattern for a half-century with abortion “reform,” a commission was set up—in this case the Queensland Law Reform Commission—which in its June report recommended removing abortion from the Criminal Code.

What does the public think?

On October 2, the group Abortion Rethink tweeted out [@AbortionRethink]

Out of the total of 6,200+ submissions received on the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018, 4,800 were uploaded to the Health Committee website. Of these, 78% percent did NOT agree that abortion should be legal up to 22 weeks

There is a provision that allows for freedom of conscience but the doctor must refer a woman to someone who will abort the baby.

At a September 26 rally in Toowoomba, attended by more than 600 pro-lifers, Dr. Jovina James, “said the new laws requiring doctors who conscientiously object to refer women to other doctors was aimed at demeaning and disrespecting doctors who exercised dissent,” the Catholic Leader reported. She said

“Do they even know what conscientious objection means? It is not a distaste for abortion. It’s a deep, unshakeable belief that this act is contrary to the human good … that this is not healthcare, and this is not what I signed up for when I promised to ‘do no harm’.”

Madeleine Wiedemann described the pressure put on her to get an abortion. According to reporter Mark Bowling , Wiedemann said getting her wisdom teeth removed was harder than securing an abortion in Queensland.

“When I had my teeth out I had to read and sign endless paperwork about the risks of the procedures involved. In contrast the proposed changes to the abortion legislation will make it easier to get an abortion at any time and for any reason,” she said.

“It will mean it is easier for you to get a baby removed than your wisdom teeth. But getting your wisdom teeth removed is not the same as an abortion. Abortion ended one life and changes one for ever.”

CNA reported that one of the key issues is whether members will be allowed to follow their consciences or follow the party line.

Although the Labor party controls the majority of Queensland’s parliament, Health Minister Steven Miles urged the opposition Liberal National Party [LNP] to allow a conscience vote on the bill. Miles said if the LNP allows a vote to take place, “the bill will likely pass,” and “if they don’t it will be very difficult for it to pass,” as reported by the Australian Associated Press.

Tim Mander, deputy leader of the LNP, has refused to confirm or deny if his party would allow a conscience vote, saying it would be decided at a party room meeting Oct. 9. He said the Health Minister’s demands indicated that the majority party was uncertain whether they had enough votes from its own members to pass the bill.

The proposed law is set to be debated in the Queensland parliament later this month.

Categories: Abortion