Decriminalisation of abortion would not prevent the kind of legal cases cited in an article in the Medical Journal of Australia today (Eds: 10/10/16) as reasons to change the law, according to Cherish Life Queensland.
Cherish Life Queensland president Julie Borger said it was disingenuous for Professor Heather Douglas of the University of Queensland and Professor Caroline de Costa of James Cook University to use these cases to argue for more permissive abortion laws.
Queensland Parliament Health Committee’s report on the inquiry into Cairns MP Mr Rob Pyne’s first abortion bill stated that even if abortion had been decriminalised, the couple prosecuted in the 2010 Cairns case for illegal abortion could have been prosecuted under other laws for importation of a drug without a permit and for possession of a restricted drug.
The Committee also stated that Mr Pyne’s decriminalisation bill “did not address the legal principles” in the Q case, in which a hospital sought approval from a Rockhampton court in April to perform an abortion on a pregnant 12-year-old.
Mrs Borger said case law in Queensland did not recognise the concept of parental consent for girls under 18 seeking an abortion.
“Either they are deemed to be competent and can make the decision themselves, or a court has to decide,” she said.
“It would be extraordinary if a 12-year-old girl such as Q could meet the legal test of being greater than ‘average intelligence and maturity’ so as to ‘understand fully what is proposed’.
“In fact, Justice Wilson in the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1992 stated it was unlikely that any average 12-year-old could fully understand the significance of an abortion.
“Therefore, even if abortion was decriminalised, consent for many under-age girls would still have to be obtained from the court.
“These pro-abortion advocates are grasping at straws in coming up with flimsy excuses to change the law.
“Their true agenda is to make abortion ‘part of mainstream medical practice’, as Professor de Costa was reported as saying in the media today.”