1 Jun 2008, Comments (4)

Shout-out to Victorian readers: MPs vote on decriminalisation of abortion

Author: Helen

After sitting on the decriminalisation-of-abortion report for some months, the Victorian Parliament has reported that it’s set to vote sometime soon on decriminalisation.

There are three options. The AGE report on Friday, annoyingly, didn’t put the details on the web, just the news report, so I’ll transcribe them here:

Option A: A doctor would have to assess whether continuation of the pregnancy posed a risk of harm to the woman. A doctor who performed an abortion when not satisfied of risk of harm would be guilty of professional misconduct.

Option B: A woman’s consent provides lawful authority for an abortion up to 24 weeks’ gestation. After that point, an abortion would only be lawful when either one or two doctors deemed continuing the pregnancy would pose a risk of harm to the woman. Doctors who performed an abortion unlawfully would be guilty of professional misconduct.

Option C (Based on the model used in the ACT and Canada): A woman is the final decision-maker throughout her pregnancy. No abortion “on demand” as a doctor must still agree that an abortion is ethically and clinically appropriate. Unlawful abortions include those conducted without the woman’s consent and performed by unqualified people.

Like Leslie Cannold at ProChoice Victoria, it’s my opinion that only option C is the one that trusts women to make the right decision for their bodies, themselves and their families. Option A is similar to the existing Menhennit Ruling coded into law, and would possibly make things worse. Option B is slightly better, but still operates on the principle that if we don’t forcibly prevent women from having abortions after 24 weeks, they’ll all be doing it. (And do you notice they find it necessary to write “still no abortion on demand! “Because we enjoy it so much, we’ll be rocking up and demanding them for no reason. It’s a myth that just never dies.)

It’s important that we all write to our local MP and/or the ministers for Health and Womens’ affairs, because the “pro-life” lobby is always many times more vocal and organised than most of us. The commission reported that roughly 90% of the community is pro-choice, while about 80% of the submissions they received were from the forced-birthers.

Elsewhere, they’re trying to wind back the gains women have made in the last thirty years. The push for an abortion ban is on again in South Dakota. In Britain, the conservative MP Nadine Dorries recently caused the parliament vote on reducing the abortion limit from 24 to 20 weeks (the “20 reasons for 20 weeks” campaign.) That was defeated last week, 393 to 71. And crowds of assorted loonies still turn up to make life hard (and dangerous) at fertility clinics – Hey, props to you, Anonymous Lefty.

Click here to send an email to all Victorian MPs to support option C.

Comments (4)

  • dysthymiac says:

    There is a very simple inexpensive way to prevent and avoid all these late-termers that the anti-mob wail about:

    make it very easy to avoid conception,
    very easy to discover quickly if you are.

    This simply involves education early,
    and distribution of contraception,
    and the obliteration of the clinic ghouls who frighten girls away from getting there sooner than they do.

    Hypocrisy is the true enemy, in that many of the Pro?Life wailers are people who have not been aware that their elderly neighbour has been stone dead for 2 weeks – ‘sanctity of life indeed’

    *goes off singing Every Sperm Is Sacred*

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    Two comments

    It’s going to be option #B. You have to see it from the point of a view of a politician – they have to make a decision, and it’s going to upset lot’s of people whatever they do. So they propose two courses to satisfy one of two consitituencies. And then there’s a middle option… it’s called damage control.

    I think that your position is morally bankrupt myself. I presume that you would not think it was okay for a woman to terminate the life of her baby after it was born if it turned out that the impact on her life was more than she expected. But you’re happy for the termination to occur right up until birth? So there’s something magic about birth that provides a child with protection against it’s mother?

    Not that I really think that any other position is particularly more right or better politics or social policy.

  • Helen says:

    The position is only morally bankrupt if women, in general, are, which I don’t believe.

    The myth that women will, given the option of legal abortion at any time, will suddenly abort in the 24th month for no reason, is just a nonsense.

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    I agree that women aren’t generally moral bankrupt. But some are. Any how, what reason would be okay? There’s some reason presumably, or you wouldn’t be holding out for option C.

    But maybe I misspoke – I didn’t pay enough attention to the requirement that a doctor agree it’s both ethically and clinically appropriate. In fact, what is the difference between A and C? I’ve worked with doctors, and discussed this with them, and I don’t see how a doctor could differentiate between A and C.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.