Cherish Life Queensland representatives, research director Kara Thomas and vice-president Dr Donna Purcell, gave evidence at the Queensland Parliament Health Committee public hearings on 27 October into the second Pyne bill, the Health (Abortion Law Reform) Amendment Bill.
In her opening statement, Mrs Thomas argued that the most important consideration in this debate was “What are the unborn?”
“For we must answer this question before we as a society decide it is morally acceptable to destroy them as the answer to crisis pregnancy,” she stated.
Cherish Life research director Kara Thomas and
vice-president Alan Baker outside the
Parliamentary Annexe after the last hearing.
“Ideas have consequences and the idea that the unborn child can be dehumanised as a non-person and excluded from the human family based on size, level of development, location or age, is a dangerous idea. For we cannot diminish the value of one category of human life - the unborn - without diminishing the value of all human life,” she said.
The second Pyne bill supports abortion on demand to 24 weeks’ gestation and beyond that time for essentially any reason with the agreement of two doctors. The doctors can both be abortionists, the second doctor does not even have to see the patient and there is no penalty if a second opinion is not sought.
The Committee report into the first bill stated: “No women wants an abortion.”
“Yet this second bill does not address any of the recommendations designed to provide women real choice. Instead it continues to advocate for expanded access to one choice. Accepting such a premise amounts to state-sanctioned coercion, veiled in liberty rhetoric.
“The last thing women need is more permissive abortion laws, as Mr Pyne is proposing. Instead, they need whatever protection the current law can provide, as well as full and accurate information, real support and safeguards such as independent counselling and cooling-off periods,” Mrs Thomas said. “Women deserve better than abortion.
“The bill before the committee would allow for the dismemberment, lethal injection or cranial decompression (partial birth abortion) of babies the same age as those in our Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). This barbarism is being considered as the principal solution to crisis pregnancy.Babies deserve better than abortion.
“Denying the unborn the status of personhood is a tool, that has been used throughout history by the strong to take away the rights of the weak. Abortion discriminates against the unborn based on age, size and location.”
Mrs Thomas reminded the committee of a statement made by Martin Luther King, who fought for the right of all human beings to be treated equally: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Our society deserves better than abortion, she said.
The Committee has received a combined total of more than 2,500 submissions, with the vast majority opposed to more permissive abortion laws. Mrs Thomas said this was significant considering a recent domestic violence Queensland parliament inquiry received only 20 submissions.
Additionally, a petition against the first Pyne bill, which would totally decriminalise abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, received more than 23,000 signatures. A current petition against the second bill has more than 12,000 signatures and growing.
“Clearly, Queenslanders are not supportive of this irresponsible abortion reform that is lethal to the unborn, harmful for women and destructive to our community,” Mrs Thomas said.
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.”