Queensland Parliament abortion to full term

This truly was a sad day with repercussions that will be felt by many for decades to come.

At 7:42pm on Wednesday 17 October 2018, the unicameral Parliament of Queensland voted via a conscience vote in favour of legalising abortion to birth. The Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 passed the second reading by 51 votes to 41.

This truly was a sad day with repercussions that will be felt by many for decades to come...

All 46 Labor MPs (aside from Curtis Pitt, the Speaker, who did not vote) voted for abortion to birth, along with the Greens MP, Independent Sandy Bolton and three Liberal National Party (LNP) MPs – Tim Nicholls, Steve Minnikin and Jann Stuckey.

The remaining 37 LNP MPs, the 3 MPs from the Katter Australia Party and the One Nation MP all voted against the Bill. I congratulate the MPs and all those Queenslanders who opposed this abortion Bill, especially at Cherish Life Queensland.

The bill allows for abortion on request up until 22 weeks gestation, with abortions after this time requiring the consent of two doctors. Doctors with conscientious objections must refer women to a medical practitioner that will perform the termination. As if this was not devastating enough, the bill also introduces bubble zones of 150 metres around abortion clinics, despite the Victorian (and Tasmanian) bubble zone laws currently being challenged as unconstitutional before the High Court.  

These provisions were closely modelled on Victorian abortion laws and as we have seen, will be extremely harmful to women. 

The first stated purpose of this bill is “to enable reasonable and safe access by women to terminations.” In a submission on the Bill, I argued that any consideration of what is “reasonable access” to abortion must take into account the reality that abortion ends the life of an innocent human being. An approach to the law which makes the unborn child invisible is neither reasonable nor justifiable.

Additionally, the science of fetology has dramatically improved our understanding of unborn human life. It is no longer possible in the age of 4D ultrasound and in utero fetal surgery to hold that the fetus is just a bunch of cells or anything other than “one of us” – that is, a human being.

There is a substantial body of research indicating an increased risk of mental health problems for women following an abortion. Some of the research even indicated that abortion is an independent risk factor for increased mental health problems, regardless of pre-existing mental health problems or an unwantedness of the pregnancy. In light of this, there is a glaring inconsistency found in arguments of the “pro-choice” lobby that seek to bestow upon women an “inalienable right” to terminate their pregnancies, without providing sufficient support following the procedure. 

Abortion on demand is simply not another medical procedure.

It is only a medical procedure in the same sense as executing a prisoner by lethal injection; that is to say, it is a procedure performed by a doctor using medical knowledge but not for any identifiable medical purpose. Abortion performed simply on request is not aimed at achieving physical health but at ending a pregnancy through terminating the life of an unborn child. 

This new law in Queensland that permits the termination of an unborn child after 22 weeks is a law that allows the killing of a child who has the potential to be safely delivered, and if given appropriate medical care, to survive and flourish. 

In my first term in Parliament, I introduced the Infant Viability Bill to wind back Victoria’s draconian abortion laws and provide care and support for preborn children post-24 weeks’ gestation as well as holistic support to their mothers. This private member’s bill was defeated in Parliament. If I am elected for another term in parliament, I am committed to introducing further legislation. This life or death issue is simply too important!

The legalisation of abortion up to birth in Queensland makes me even more determined to work for the protection of children before birth here in Victoria.

Despite this tragic defeat, we will all keep working together for life.

 


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Rachel Carling-Jenkins Independent for Werribee