If abortion is decriminalised in Queensland, the proportion of abortions done by public hospitals would increase from 2% to “20 to 25%”, according to evidence earlier this month from a medical expert to the parliamentary inquiry into abortion laws.
The report of the Health Committee inquiry will be tabled in State Parliament on Tuesday.
Dr Carol Portmann, former director of maternal and foetal medicine at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, who now performs abortions up to 20 weeks as part of her private gynaecology practice, said Queensland Health would have to support public hospitals to cater for this increase in demand.
Currently, Queensland public hospitals only perform “therapeutic terminations” (which meet the current judicial interpretation of the law that for an abortion to be legal there must be a serious danger to the woman’s physical or mental health), while 16 private clinics perform the other 98% of abortions which are mainly for financial or social reasons.
This would mean that the number of abortions done in the public hospital system would rise from 295 (out of about 14,000 done in Queensland each year) to more like 3,000 – a 10 times increase.
Dr Portmann said the current “health culture” in Queensland public hospitals would make it difficult to find medical and nursing staff who would be “happy to be involved on a regular basis” in meeting the demand for more abortions.
She said that over time “a significant cultural shift” would occur so that abortion would be considered “part of routine medical care”.
Cherish Life Queensland president Julie Borger said this would corrupt the public hospital system and put great pressure on pro-life doctors and nurses to participate in abortions against their conscience.
She said the pro-abortion lobby also gave evidence to the inquiry that decriminalisation would not increase the number of abortions, yet at the same time claimed that some women had not been able to get access to an abortion because of remoteness from an abortion clinic or lack of money.
“They cannot have it both ways. Obviously, if these women who allegedly cannot access abortion under the current law would be able to obtain it under a decriminalisation regime, then numbers must increase.
“More abortions would hurt more women. With every abortion, the toll is one dead, one wounded.
“We need to look for better ways to support families and not go for the ‘quick-fix’ of abandoning women to abortion and all its harmful consequences.”
“The news that the abortion drug RU-486 will be available after a simple phone conversation with a person in the medical profession licensed to issue this toxic drug regime has been met with extreme concern by Cherish Life Queensland,” Teresa Martin, State President, said. “Under the guise of making abortion more ‘accessible’ for rural women, this will only increase medical problems for these women,” she said.
There are a number of issues of great concern in the “over the phone” issuing of the abortion drug RU-486:
- Rural women, the very people the Tabbot Foundation (TF) say they are wanting to help, will be in serious danger should they access these abortion drugs and then suffer excessive cramping and haemorrhaging, and due to distance, be unable to access good medical help in an expedient time period.
- Due to distance and the scarcity of rural medical facilities, the required ultrasounds and blood tests themselves will be quite difficult for these rural women to access in the first place thereby placing them at a serious risk to their health.
- Most women don’t know their blood group, something that will need to be established prior to taking the abortion drugs. If their blood group is Rhesus negative, they may need medication for Rhesus factor sensitisation. In both these instances, this will mean that doctors and other medical staff will be forced to become part of the abortion process even if they have a conscientious objection to abortion when the woman visits to have their blood group established, any other pathology tests done, ultrasounds performed and any subsequent medical treatment needed prior to taking the RU-486 drugs.
- As there is no requirement by TF for medical conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) to be assessed, a woman with PCOS may be pregnant with the only child she will ever conceive, but if she is not checked for PCOS how will she be able to consider this possibility? Women deserve all the facts.
- TF states that this “over the phone” consultation will relieve the pressure on women who are ‘too worried’ about going in to an abortion place, but these same women will still have to front up for blood tests and ultrasounds etc to establish gestational age which will be equally as ‘worrying’ for them.
- To have an RU-486 abortion, the woman cannot have an IUD in place so she will need to visit her doctor to have this removed. Similarly, the woman can’t have a pelvic infection so again, she will have to visit her doctor to have this established. Both these situations blows out of the water the “embarrassment” excuse that TF use as pressure to have this dangerous drug mail out allowed.
- Pro-abortion groups have stated that this “over-the-phone” service will halve the cost of abortion for women but this will not be the case if they have to access emergency services, treatments and medications when things go wrong, as they will in some cases.
- There is also no addressing of the intense situation of these women when they find that the sanctuary of their home has become the tombs for their babies. One can only imagine the mental anguish that this will cause as they see their tiny baby in a pool of blood.
- On the TF website in a section titled “Parental Consent” which states a ‘mature’ minor may give consent without a guardian. How will it be possible to establish this ‘maturity’ from a mere one-off telephone conversation? What process will they use to be able to deduce that the minor is ‘mature’? How will the issuer of the abortion drugs know that there is no coercion? How will they be able to assess that there has been no sexual abuse or incest and that these drugs are not being pressured upon the minor as a cover-up?
- TF states that the service will only be offered for pregnancies of fewer than 63 days but what if the mail is delayed and arrives after this time period? How can they be certain that women won’t take it anyway putting them at even greater health risks of bleeding etc?
- Who will be legally liable if the mail is late? Who will the woman sue – the postal service or the abortion provider?
- How will it be established that the unborn baby and other pregnancy-related tissue has been fully expelled from the mother’s womb? How will it be possible to fully and accurately access this from a mere follow-up blood test? That will only establish that she is no longer pregnant. It won’t establish that there are “retained products” festering away. There is already documented evidence of one woman In Australia (and at least 14 more world-wide) dying from the effects of an RU-486 abortion – how many more will there be now with this simple-to-obtain mail out of the drugs?
- According to TF, women will be posted the abortion drugs (Mifepristone and Misoprostol RU486), prophylactic antibiotics, painkillers and anti-nausea drugs. How will the issuer of these drugs ensure that these women don’t get them mixed up and confused? People under stress – and aborting one’s baby would certainly be stressful
- Patients can and do make mistakes. What if they don’t bother taking the antibiotics or don’t complete the full course leading to a resistance to future antibiotics and/or the mutations of the infection-causing microbes so that they become so-called ‘superbugs’?
- What if there is an unknown allergy to some of these drugs? How is that being assessed? And what if good medical help, in the instance of rural women, not immediately available? Who will bear that legal liability?
- At the exorbitant cost of $250, and no doubt with a very large profit margin for the provider, why should the Australian taxpayer, at least half of whom do not agree with abortion, be forced to subsidise through Medicare even more killings of unborn babies?
- There is no other area of healthcare where medical drugs are dispensed by a mere “over the phone” consultation. This is a highly dangerous situation and women deserve ALL the facts of the dangers of an RU-486 abortion to be presented to them and they certainly deserve a far more all-encompassing exploration of their situation than abortion drugs as the only answer.
“It is a disgusting low blow by TF to be so insulting as to use previous Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s name for this organisation when he was so opposed to abortion and this abortion drug regime,” Ms Martin said, “It shows the true nature of the types of people behind this organisation and if that is the lack of respect they show to a previous PM, we can’t see them truly caring or showing much respect to abortion-minded women.”
Further comments, clarifications or questions can be directed to Teresa Martin, State President, Cherish Life Queensland.