A public meeting organised by the Kelvin Grove Labor Party branch has revealed that a majority of the Queensland Parliament is now in favour of legalising abortion. The revelation will add further pressure to Anna Bligh and the state Labor government to change Queensland’s draconian abortion laws.
There has been pressure to change the laws since a Cairns couple, Tegan Leach and her partner Sergie Brennan were charged earlier this year with allegedly “procuring an abortion”.
Bligh changed the laws to refer specifically to medical abortions, but has refused to decriminalise abortion.
But the startling revelation has blown Anna Bligh’s excuses for stalling out of the water! Bligh has consistently claimed that the numbers were against decriminalisation. She has even resorted to scare tactics that moves to change the law could make it worse for women. But Bligh is lying.
Former state MP, Bonnie Barry and Children by Choice campaigner Kate Marsh told the meeting that there are now 49 members in favour of decriminalisation, 20 against and 20 undecided—and they believe most of the undecided would vote yes if Bligh backed the bill.
Although neither speaker revealed the identity of the MPs, they told the meeting that two MP’s are prepared to put a private members bill—but only if Bligh supports the move.
This information gives a real opening to take the abortion issue to Labor members and the unions to galvanise the campaign for the change that is really needed.
Anna Bligh and state Labor are victims of their own political cowardice. Labor has made noises about the risk of an electoral backlash orchestrated by the Right to Life movement. Yet, this has always been a lame excuse. A large majority of the electorate are in favour of a woman’s right to choose.
More significantly, in Victoria, there were similar alarmist stories when the Labor state government changed the laws—but the threat of a Right to Life campaign never materialised.
Meanwhile the impact of Bligh’s cowardice continues to wreak havoc on women’s lives. Doctors at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital have refused to perform medical abortions since August, except in life-threatening cases, amid fears of prosecution.
Now, the Queensland Health Department is drafting a consent form warning women seeking medical abortions in Queensland hospitals, “If you have any concerns about your own legal position, please seek independent legal advice before proceeding with any further treatment.”
Cairns gynaecologist Caroline de Costa—the first Australian doctor to gain permission to prescribe the controversial abortion drug RU486—told the Brisbane Times that the form would only alarm women already facing the trauma of a termination.
It is a pity, then, that de Costa and other doctors, fearful of prosecution, have opted to stop providing abortion services rather then defying the law.
The Weekend Australian has revealed the heart-wrenching story of a Queensland couple, Shay and Brad, who had to go Lismore to obtain a medical abortion after their baby was diagnosed with terminal abnormalities.
Rally to Drop the Charges, Repeal all Abortion Laws, and for Free Safe Abortion on Demand
Saturday November 21, 11am Queens Park. Contact Pro-Choice Action Collective: www.prochoiceactionqld.org or facebook search “pro choice action.”