On 10 May 2016 Independent MP for Cairns, Mr Rob Pyne introduced the Abortion Law Reform (Women’s Right to Choose) Bill into Queensland parliament. The bill proposes the removal of existing safeguards for women and the unborn child. Instead, it proposes abortion on demand without any reference to gestational timeframes or informed consent. After examining all evidence, the Queensland Parliamentary Committee recommended that this Bill not be passed. This Bill will be voted on by Parliament by February 2017.
On 16 August 2016, Mr Rob Pyne introduced a second Bill - the Abortion Law Reform (Women's Right to Choose) Amendment Bill. This Bill offers no more safeguards or reference to medical facts than the first. It can only be described as the most radical abortion legislation Australia has ever seen.
The Amended Bill is currently undergoing evaluation by the Queensland Parliamentary Committee. It will also be voted on by Parliament by February 2017 or earlier.
At the present time, a woman in Queensland can access an abortion at one of 10 private clinics, under an interpretation by the court which allows abortion where there is a serious risk to the physical or mental health of a woman. While no doubt most of these abortions are actually unlawful, given they are being performed on healthy women as evidenced by their outpatient status, the law turns a “blind eye”. With more than 10,000 abortions occurring in Queensland each year (according to Medicare figures), it is disingenuous therefore for abortion advocates and Mr Pyne to suggest that women in Queensland cannot readily access abortion in the State.
The proposed bill to widen the grounds for legal abortion in Queensland is a backward step. It flies in the face of medical practice that the Queensland government would consider now expanding existing legislation. Currently in many nations around the world and even in Australia (Victoria) significant moves are being taken to turn back abortion legislation. We see examples of this particularly as the time of viability when the child is capable of surviving outside the womb, becomes earlier and earlier. For example, in Utah this year the ‘foetal pain abortion law’ was passed which will now require doctors to provide anaesthesia to babies being aborted at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later.
In Australia, abortion affects one in three women. Sometimes abortion is put forward, even taken for granted, as a 'solution' to the most difficult situations. However, we cannot disregard the fact that this choice involves the taking of an innocent life. Compassionate care for women and the unborn child does not involve providing terminations without medical advice or supervision up to the time of natural birth which is what this proposed bill purports.