Tags: lawful authority

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.