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Qld Health Committee given proof of late-term abortion for ‘social’ reasons in Victoria as late as over 37 weeks

Cherish Life Queensland has called on the Queensland Parliament Health Committee to seriously consider the evidence it provided in its submission and at last week’s hearings on the Termination of Pregnancy Bill that late-term abortions of healthy babies of healthy mothers have occurred in Victoria as late as over 37 weeks gestation, which is regarded as full-term.

“It was very concerning that the committee seemed unaware of the evidence provided in our submission about the increase in late-term abortions in Victoria since the passing of the Abortion Law Reform Act in 2008 which decriminalised abortion in Victoria,” Cherish Life executive director Teeshan Johnson said.

“There was an average increase of 98 late-term abortions per year in Victoria since decriminalisation of abortion in late 2008, a 39% jump.1

“Since Jackie Trad’s Bill is almost a mirror image of the Victorian law, this is an extremely important warning for Queensland.

“That’s nearly two extra late-term babies being killed each week. Before decriminalisation there were almost five late-term abortions per week in Victoria, and since decriminalisation there have been about seven late-term abortions per week on average.

“Almost half of late-term abortions performed in recent years in Victoria have been performed for reasons other than foetal abnormality or health of the woman or the child. In other words, healthy babies of healthy mothers are aborted legally under the Victorian Abortion Reform Act, on which the Queensland Termination of Pregnancy Bill is modelled.

“In 2011 in Victoria, a healthy baby of a healthy mother was aborted for ‘psycho-social’ reasons at over 37 weeks' gestation2 – this is regarded as a full-term baby.

“In that same year, 10 healthy viable babies of healthy mothers between 28 and 31 weeks gestation also were aborted for ‘psycho-social’ reasons in Victoria.”

Ms Johnson said the committee just seemed to be going through the motions in reviewing Deputy-Premier Jackie Trad’s Bill, with a pre-determined decision that the majority is working towards.

“There has been a bias towards supporters of the Bill who were favoured in time and representation, with just 40% of the total time across the three public hearings given to pro-life witnesses, and 60% to pro-abortion or pro-choice witnesses.

“This bias was even more pronounced in the selection of expert witnesses, with 10 pro-abortion doctors up against just two pro-life doctors, one invited pro-life obstetrician not being allowed to speak, and six lawyers supporting the Bill compared with just two lawyers who opposed certain aspects. The only pregnancy counselling service called to give evidence was one which promotes abortion.

“It seems the majority of committee members were more interested in exploring our ideological positioning, in what felt like a bid to polarise or discount our evidence, than seriously considering our submission on why the Termination of Pregnancy Bill should not be passed, which included proof of an increase of almost 40% in late-term abortions following decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria 10 years ago.

“The tight time frame will mean the Health Committee will not be able to properly consider the 6,200 public submissions it has received before it is due to report to Parliament on 5 October.

“The fact that this is more than twice the number of submissions for the two inquiries into the Pyne abortion Bills of 2016 shows the level of community concern about Jackie Trad’s extreme abortion Bill. As 85% of submissions to the Pyne Bill inquiries were opposed, it is a safe assumption that the vast majority of the submissions received this time also would be against Ms Trad’s brutal Bill.”

 

APPENDIX 1

Gestational ranges of perinatal deaths (VICTORIA) from 2009-2015 for maternal psycho-social indications only - non-medical reasons, healthy babies to healthy mothers


Year

 

20-27 weeks


28-31 weeks

 

32-36 weeks

 

37+ weeks


2015

 

107


0

 

0

 

0


2014

 

146


0

 

1

 

0


2013

 

179


0

 

0

 

0


2012

 

132


0

 

0

 

0


2011

 

172


10

 

0

 

1


2010

 

184


7

 

0

 

0


2009

 

203


11

 

0

 

0

 

From Victorian Maternal, Perinatal, Child and Adolescent Mortality statistics, The Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity

 

See also Victorian Late-Term Abortions table 2000-2016

 

APPENDIX 2

 

Comparison Table


Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018


Pyne Bills 2016 - Abortion Law Reform (Woman’s Right to Choose) Amendment Bill 2016 & Health (Abortion Law Reform) Amendment Bill 2016 – moved by Independent MP Mr Rob Pyne in 2016 and withdrawn in February 2017 because it was evident that they would have been defeated if put to a vote in the Queensland Parliament


Victorian abortion law: Abortion Law Reform Act 2008


Abortion for any reason up to 22 weeks gestation


Abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks gestation


Abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks gestation


Sex-selective abortion legal


Sex-selective abortion legal


Sex-selective abortion legal


Abortion from 22 weeks until birth, for a wide range of loose criteria including “social” reasons. Two doctors give the approval.


The first doctor can be the abortionist and the second doctor (who can also be an abortionist) doesn’t have to see the woman or even read her file. No legal penalties on doctors if rules not followed.


Abortion from 24 weeks until birth, if there is a “risk… to the physical or mental health of the woman”. Two doctors give the approval. The first doctor can be the abortionist and the second doctor (who can also be an abortionist) doesn’t have to see the woman or even read her file. No legal penalties on doctors if rules not followed.


Abortion from 24 weeks until birth, for a wide range of loose criteria including “social” reasons. Two doctors give the approval. The first doctor can be the abortionist and the second doctor (who can also be an abortionist) doesn’t have to see the woman or even read her file. No legal penalties on doctors if rules not followed.


Doctors with conscientious objection must refer for abortion, or to another doctor who will help the woman with her abortion request, and therefore be complicit in the outcome of an abortion.


Full conscientious objection provision for doctors and nurses.


Doctors with conscientious objection must refer for abortion, or to another doctor who will help the woman with her abortion request, and therefore be complicit in the outcome of an abortion.


Abortions to be performed at taxpayer-funded public hospitals and therefore free.


Abortions to be performed at taxpayer-funded public hospitals and therefore free.


Abortions to be performed at taxpayer-funded public hospitals and therefore free.


No protections for women considering an abortion – no independent counselling, informed consent conditions or cooling-off periods.


No protections for women considering an abortion – no independent counselling, informed consent conditions or cooling-off periods.


No protections for women considering an abortion – no independent counselling, informed consent conditions or cooling-off periods


150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.


50 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.


150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.

 

 

Inquiries: Contact Cherish Life Qld executive director Teeshan Johnson 

 

2� Table 6.21b, Page 162, 2010/2011 Victorian Maternal, Perinatal, Child and Adolescent Mortality statistics, The Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity http://realchoices.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/VicPNData2010_11.pdf

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Kate Jones rewrites history in failed attempt to wedge LNP on abortion

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.

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Federal Cabinet Minister Senator Matt Canavan to speak at March for Life Brisbane, this afternoon

The Minister for Resources and Northern Australian Senator Matt Canavan will join Senator Amanda Stoker in encouraging the marchers at the March for Life today.

Medical experts will be amongst other speakers.

Marchers will be meeting at Queens Gardens at 2pm before marching to Parliament House for a rally, which will start around 2:30pm.

The Bill if passed is effective abortion to birth legislation - only 6% of Queenslanders agree with abortion to birth. It would legalise sex-selective abortion, and only 8% of Queenslanders agree with sex-selection abortion. The Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 is as brutal and extreme as it is unpopular.  The full results of the August 2018 polling, including the raw data, can be found here.

ENDS

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Queenslanders Attitudes on Abortion

Despite the Queensland Labor Government having passed some of the most extreme abortion laws in the country, Queenslanders are far more pro-life than you think!

According to YouGov/Galaxy polling conducted in August 2018 - 60% of Queenslanders oppose abortions past 13 weeks and 75% agree that abortion harms women's health.

Cherish Life proudly opposes these radical abortion laws which are out of step with the people of Queensland and we look forward to helping elect solidly pro-life candidates in the 2020 state election.

View the rest of Queenslanders attitudes towards abortion here

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Why sex-selective abortion would be legal in Qld if the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 is passed

If the Trad-Labor Bill is passed, abortion would be on request, no questions asked, up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Part 2 Section 5 of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 states: “A medical practitioner may perform a termination on a woman who is not more than 22 weeks pregnant.”  

Removal of any restrictions on abortion in the first 22 weeks of pregnancy, means abortion will be legal for sex selection.

Abortion on request is just that – no reason has to be given.

Abortion for sex selection is not legal under the current law, as interpreted by the courts, because this is not a situation where there is a serious danger to a woman’s physical or mental health.

One of the terrible consequences of legalising abortion on request to 22 weeks gestation is it would be legal to abort a female baby, just for being a girl.

The sex of a child is usually discovered at the 16 to 20 week scan, but can also be detected from 10 weeks of pregnancy by a blood test.

Part 2 Section 6 of the Bill specifies that abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy is allowed if a doctor considers that it should be performed under a broad range of criteria including “the woman’s current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances”, and a second doctor agrees.

The key point is that word “social” is ambiguous and would include in its scope sex-selective abortion, as sex selection is a social reason. This practice fits under no other description.

Although in practice sex-selective abortion almost always would be prior to 22 weeks gestation because the sex can be determined well before then, it could be very accessible past 22 weeks too because of the loose criteria for obtaining a late-term abortion and the lack of rigorous governance around the approval process.

The provision for a second doctor’s approval under Section 6 is questionable, as the second doctor is not required to see the woman or her file. The second approval can be obtained by a phone call or email. The first doctor can be an abortionist and the second doctor can also be an abortionist.  

And if the first doctor does not bother to get a second opinion, the Bill has no legal penalty. A law without a penalty is no law at all.

Globally, sex-selective abortion and infanticide of female babies is at catastrophic levels, with UN estimates of more than 100 million girls missing around the world.

There is evidence that sex-selective abortions do occur in Australia, provided by a demographic study using ABS data from 2003 to 2013 showing “1,395 missing girls”, which was reported by SBS and Daily Mail Australia in 2015. Also, on 12 August 2018 The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age carried a story titled “The ‘missing girls’ never born in Australia”.

It is worth noting that Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 is almost a mirror image of the Victorian abortion law passed in 2008 (see comparison on the next page), which allows sex-selective abortion and even compels doctors to refer these cases to an abortionist under threat of deregistration.

In 2013, Dr Mark Hobart, a Melbourne GP, faced disciplinary action for refusing to refer a couple with a 19 week unborn baby girl for a sex-selective abortion in Victoria.

Those who state that sex-selective abortion would not be legal in Queensland under the Trad-Labor abortion Bill are either naïve or untruthful.

Recent YouGov Galaxy polling shows that only 8% of Queenslanders, including 5% of women, support sex-selective abortions, with 83% of voters opposed.

Abortion is already very accessible in Queensland under the current law with an estimated 14,000 terminations each year provided by 23 clinics, so there is no need to take abortion out of the Criminal Code.

However, abortion remaining in the Criminal Code will mean that sex-selective abortion does remain illegal in Queensland.

 

LABOR’S LATE-TERM ABORTION BILL: WORSE THAN THE PYNE BILLS

COMPARISON TABLE: Labor’s late-term abortion Bill, Pyne Bills, Victoria’s abortion laws

Queensland Labor Government’s: Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018

Pyne Bills 2016 - Abortion Law Reform (Woman’s Right to Choose) Amendment Bill 2016   & Health (Abortion Law Reform) Amendment Bill 2016 – moved by Independent MP Mr Rob Pyne in 2016 and withdrawn in February 2017 because it was evident that they would have been defeated if put to a vote in the Queensland Parliament

Victorian abortion law: Victoria’s Abortion Law Reform Act 2008

Abortion for any reason up to 22 weeks gestation

Abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks gestation

Abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks gestation

Sex-selective abortion legal

Sex-selective abortion legal

Sex-selective abortion legal

Abortion from 22 weeks until birth, for a wide range of loose criteria including “social” reasons. Two doctors give the approval. The first doctor can be the abortionist and the second doctor (who can also be an abortionist) doesn’t have to see the woman or even read her file. No legal penalties on doctors if rules not followed.

Abortion from 24 weeks until birth, if there is a “risk… to the physical or mental health of the woman”.  Two doctors give the approval. The first doctor can be the abortionist and the second doctor (who can also be an abortionist) doesn’t have to see the woman or even read her file. No legal penalties on doctors if rules not followed.

Abortion from 24 weeks until birth, for a wide range of loose criteria including “social” reasons. Two doctors give the approval. The first doctor can be the abortionist and the second doctor (who can also be an abortionist) doesn’t have to see the woman or even read her file. No legal penalties on doctors if rules not followed.

Doctors with conscientious objection must refer for abortion, or to another doctor who will help the woman with her abortion request, and therefore be complicit in the outcome of an abortion.

Full conscientious objection provision for doctors and nurses.

Doctors with conscientious objection must refer for abortion, or to another doctor who will help the woman with her abortion request, and therefore be complicit in the outcome of an abortion.

Abortions to be performed at taxpayer-funded public hospitals and therefore free.

Abortions to be performed at taxpayer-funded public hospitals and therefore free.

Abortions to be performed at taxpayer-funded public hospitals and therefore free.

No protections for women considering an abortion – no independent counselling, informed consent conditions or cooling-off periods.

No protections for women considering an abortion – no independent counselling, informed consent conditions or cooling-off periods.

No protections for women considering an abortion – no independent counselling, informed consent conditions or cooling-off periods

150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.

50 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.

150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.

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Termination of Pregnancy Bill ‘brutal, Unnecessary and Rejected by Public’

The pro-life lobby has slammed the Labor Government’s Termination of Pregnancy Bill which was tabled in the Queensland Parliament today as being brutal, extreme, worse than the Pyne Bills and almost a mirror image of Victoria’s abortion law - one of the most brutal in the Western world.

Executive director of Cherish Life Queensland, Ms Teeshan Johnson, said: “These cruel abortion-to-birth laws are worse than the Pyne Bills and almost a mirror image of the Victorian abortion law which is one of the worst in the Western world.

“The Labor Government  in pushing to legalise late-term abortion  has not considered voters’ opinions, particularly women. Recent YouGov Galaxy polling shows that only 6% of Queenslanders agree with late-term abortion, and only 3% of women.

“The Bill if passed would also legalise sex-selective abortion, an obscene form of discrimination against females which is already happening in Victoria. The Bill is as discriminatory against females as it is brutal against the unborn.

“Those in the Labor Party advocating this are in the tiny minority of Queenslanders who agree with late-term abortion and sex-selective abortion.

“The Bill is unnecessary as abortion is already very accessible in Queensland, with 14,000 terminations a year under the current law.”

Highlights of Galaxy poll results below

Voters strongly oppose late-term abortion – When asked, Up to what stage of pregnancy would you allow abortion, only 6% of Queenslanders said after 23 weeks. Just 3% of Queensland women support abortion up to birth, compared with 10% of men. When asked specifically whether they supported the provision in the Trad Labor Bill to legalise abortion from 22 weeks to birth, under a number of criteria including “social circumstances”, 62% said No. This included 70% of women and 54% of men. Just 22% of Queensland voters support this provision in the Bill.

Voters overwhelmingly reject sex-selective abortions – 83% of voters oppose sex- selective abortions. Only 8% support this practice, in which unborn babies are killed for the “crime” of being a girl. Just 5% of women support this, compared with 11% of men. This question is relevant because sex-selective abortions will be legalised under the Trad Labor Bill as abortion on request for any reason before 22 weeks means exactly that, as does abortion for “social” reasons past 22 weeks.  

Voters will change their vote on this issue – supporting the Bill would be more likely to cost votes (39%) than be a vote winner (15%). 43% of females say they would be less likely to vote for a MP who supported the Bill, compared with 35% of males. This indicates a potential average swing of 13% against pro-abortion MPs.

The online poll of 1,000 Queensland voters, conducted from 6 to 8 August by independent market research firm YouGov Galaxy for Cherish Life Queensland and the Australian Family Association, asked 21 questions to a random sample on proposed changes to abortion laws.

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Women Lead The Charge As New Polling Shows Qld Voters Reject The Proposed Trad Labor Extreme Abortion Laws

On the eve of the Jackie Trad Labor extreme abortion laws being tabled in Parliament tomorrow [Tuesday, 21 August], a new independent opinion poll shows a majority of Queensland voters, particularly women, are opposed to the proposed laws.

Executive director of Cherish Life Queensland, Ms Teeshan Johnson, said the results sent a clear, loud, and determined message to politicians from the voters – “we do not support this”.

“This is an emphatic rejection of the Jackie Trad extreme abortion laws – the results speak for themselves.” Analysis showed the following…

Voters do not want this change - 56% of Queensland voters either believe the law should stay the same or be stricter, compared with 26% who think it should less restrictive.

Voters strongly oppose late-term abortion – When asked, Up to what stage of pregnancy would you allow abortion, only 6% of Queenslanders said after 23 weeks. Just 3% of Queensland women support abortion up to birth, compared with 10% of men. When asked specifically whether they supported the provision in the Trad Labor Bill to legalise abortion from 22 weeks to birth, under a number of criteria including “social circumstances”, 62% said No. This included 70% of women and 54% of men. Just 22% of Queensland voters support this provision in the Bill.

Voters overwhelmingly reject sex-selective abortions – 83% of voters oppose sex- selective abortions. Only 8% support this practice, in which unborn babies are killed for the “crime” of being a girl. Just 5% of women support this, compared with 11% of men. This question is relevant because sex-selective abortions will be legalised under the Trad Labor Bill as abortion on request for any reason before 22 weeks means exactly that, as does abortion for “social” reasons past 22 weeks.

Voters will change their vote on this issue – supporting the Bill would be more likely to cost votes (39%) than be a vote winner (15%). 43% of females say they would be less likely to vote for a MP who supported the Bill, compared with 14% of women who would be more likely to do so. Overall, this indicates a potential average swing of 13% against pro-abortion MPs.

“The results are in, and they are very clear,” said Ms Johnson. “MPs should reject this extreme law proposed by Jackie Trad and Labor.”

This opinion poll of 1,000 Queensland voters, conducted from 6 to 8 August by independent market research firm YouGov Galaxy for Cherish Life Queensland and the Australian Family Association, asked 21 questions to a representative sample on proposed changes to abortion laws.

We are pleased to share with you the full results of the most comprehensive survey on abortion ever done in Queensland, which includes the entire questionnaire and all tables. This research does not skim the surface like other polls do, but drills down to find out what Queenslanders really think about abortion.

Cherish Life executive director Teeshan Johnson will be available for DOORSTOP INTERVIEWS TODAY, Monday 20 August 2018, between 12.30 pm and 1 pm, or by arrangement, outside the front doors of the Parliamentary Annexe, Alice St, Brisbane.

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Labor Closure Of Regional Birth Units While Pushing For Abortion A Disgrace

Cherish Life Queensland has slammed the State Labor Government’s closure of 40 maternity units during its various terms over the past two decades, which has led to a spike in infant mortality and dangerous birthing conditions for many Queensland mothers in rural and regional areas.

“The Labor Government’s disregard for the health of expectant women and babies in rural and regional areas over many years is very worrying, especially when contrasted to the way it is now pushing for extreme abortion laws under which public hospitals would have to provide free abortion on request,” Ms Teeshan Johnson, Cherish Life executive director said.

“It seems successive Labor Governments have made critical health decisions based on money, at the expense of babies’ lives and women’s health.

“Now Deputy Premier Jackie Trad is spruiking extreme and unpopular abortion-to-birth legislation, which if passed will further reduce the supply of doctors to rural and regional areas because of the lack of proper conscientious objection protection for doctors.

“Ironically, one of the reasons abortion advocates are giving for this extreme legislation is that women in rural and regional areas will have better access to abortion.

“So there could well be a situation where a regional hospital which has had its birthing unit closed will start to offer abortion services instead under the proposed Labor law.

“It is an absolute disgrace that the Labor Government has caused though its closure of much-needed birthing units a situation in which babies born in country towns without a maternity unit have almost four times the chance of dying as babies who are born in rural hospitals with maternity services.

“And it would be a huge insult to these regional towns to offer abortion services in the place of birthing units in the local hospitals.” 

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Legalisation Would Increase Abortions in Public Hospitals

The claim by Health Minister Stephen Miles at parliamentary estimates hearings yesterday that legalising abortion was unlikely to increase the number of terminations in Queensland’s public hospitals is misleading, according to Cherish Life Queensland.

This is because the assurance by Dr Miles was limited to ‘in the short term’,” Ms Teeshan Johnson, Cherish Life executive director said.

The truth is that decriminalisation would corrupt the culture of the Queensland public hospital system over time.

At the Queensland Parliament Health Committee hearings into the first Pyne abortion Bill in 2016, former director of maternal and foetal medicine at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Dr Carol Portmann, who indicated she performs abortions up to 20 weeks as part of her private gynaecology practice, gave evidence that in the event of decriminalisation, the proportion of terminations done in public hospitals would be likely to increase within a decade from the current 2% to ‘20 to 25%’.

Dr Portmann also said that decriminalisation would change the ‘health culture’ within public hospitals to a culture in which abortion was just ‘part of routine medical care’.

Ms Johnson also said that the lack of a true conscientious objection clause for medical professionals in the Labor Government’s Bill, if enacted, no doubt would cause some medical professionals to exit the profession, as well as deter new entrants.

Because the new law would compel doctors to be complicit by referring for abortion, even if they considered it not to be in the best interests of their patients, we could face a health crisis with an undersupply of doctors,” she said.

In decriminalising abortion at all costs, the Queensland Labor Government could irreparably damage our public hospitals and regional health services.

It is obvious that the number of terminations in public hospitals would increase significantly over time, as one of the reasons advocates give for decriminalisation is to reduce the out-of-pocket costs to women and to make abortion ‘free’.

If abortion on demand is legalised, taxpayer-funded public hospitals will have to offer this elective ‘health care’ procedure free, for social reasons such as economic disadvantage, relationship break-up or even sex selection.

Inevitably, the overall number of abortions would increase as a result of this free service, and due to the fact that whenever something is legalised, the incidence of it always rises, as the law plays a role in educating the community regarding moral values.”

Download this press release as a PDF.

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