The claim by Queensland Labor Cabinet Minister Kate Jones in an opinion piece in The Courier-Mail today that in 1980 the Liberal Minister for Health, Sir William Knox, introduced a bill to decriminalise abortion is completely untrue.
The opposite is the case.
The fact is that the Pregnancy Termination Control Bill introduced by Sir William in 1980 would have banned private abortion clinics in Queensland and changed the statute law in the Criminal Code so that the phrase “for the preservation of the mother’s life” could not be misinterpreted by the courts, as had already occurred in Victoria and New South Wales.
Originally a government Bill, this private member’s Bill by Sir William Knox would have allowed abortion only where the mother’s physical life was at risk and in cases of rape and incest.
This was a pro-life Bill, not a Bill to decriminalise abortion, as Ms Jones wrongly claims.
It was supported at the time by Cherish Life Queensland (then known as Right to Life Queensland).
Unfortunately, it was defeated in the Queensland Parliament by 40 votes to 35, in May 1980.
Now, instead of one private abortion clinic in Queensland, there are 23, and abortion on request is very accessible under the current interpretation of the law, with an estimated 14,000 terminations a year.
Ms Jones has besmirched the good name and reputation of the late Sir William Knox by claiming he was an advocate of open slather abortion, when he was in fact a defender of the right to life of every human being from conception until natural death.
This is in stark contrast to those who are pushing for Jackie Trad’s extreme, brutal, anti-woman and unnecessary Bill, which will allow abortion to birth, effectively for any reason.
This late-term abortion Bill, which also will legalise sex-selective abortion, is strongly opposed by Queenslanders. A YouGov Galaxy poll of 1,000 Queensland voters last month found that only 3% of Queensland women support abortion after 23 weeks of pregnancy and only 5% of women support sex-selective abortion.