The Australian Medical Association Qld (AMAQ) has been criticised by the pro-life organisation Cherish Life Queensland for endorsing the extreme late-term Termination of Pregnancy Bill, without surveying its membership beforehand.
“Before the AMAQ’s management gave its support to the Termination of Pregnancy Bill, it failed to survey the membership’s view on this extreme legislation. There was no broad consultation, so AMAQ members were presented with a deadly fait accompli,” Ms Teeshan Johnson, executive director of Cherish Life Queensland, said.
“Imposing this policy reportedly has caused waves within the AMAQ membership base, as many doctors do not agree with legalising abortion on request up to 22 weeks gestation, and then from 22 weeks until birth for criteria including socioeconomic reasons subject to a second doctor’s approval. There is also no legal penalty for not getting a second doctor’s approval.”
“Many doctors also are unhappy that this extreme late-term abortion Bill fails to provide medical professionals with full conscientious objection protection. Doctors with a conscientious objection will be compelled to refer for abortion, and therefore be complicit in an abortion.”
Modern day health practice is based largely upon science. This bill ignores the weight of knowledge about prenatal development, including the ability to feel pain from an abortion, and sets an arbitrary limit of 22 weeks before which the preborn is denied any protection, and after that, it is negotiable. Thus we will have the tragic paradox that a hospital can be saving premature babies at great expense on one floor, and killing them on another.
“The AMAQ in supporting this Bill are also putting pregnant women at risk. The Bill contains no safeguards for women against abortion coercion such as independent counselling nor informed consent conditions which are a standard duty of care in other procedures. The Bill ignores the body of evidence about abortion coercion and the physical and psychological risks of abortion to women.
“This Bill is modelled on the 2008 Victorian law which has seen a doctor censured for not referring for a sex-selective abortion at 19 weeks gestation, and has led to a 39% increase in late-term abortions since the law was passed. The AMA is opposed to sex selection abortions, but has failed to understand that at least up until 22 weeks, no reason is required to be provided to secure a legal abortion.
“Almost half of the late-term abortions in Victoria have been for ‘psycho-social’ reasons, with healthy babies from healthy mothers – including one full-term baby in 2011- and many viable babies who would have survived if birthed and provided with care. The question must be asked: Why is the AMAQ promoting this abortion-to-birth culture, even for late-term and full-term babies?”
For all these reasons, the AMAQ has seemingly abandoned the first principle of medicine, which is to do no harm, and has allowed itself to become a voice for the abortion lobby. It is also worth noting that AMAQ membership is 28% of Queensland doctors. This is not representative of the states’ doctors, and probably does even represent its own membership base on this matter.