Up to 1000 people are expected to attend a Toowoomba Rally for Life on Wednesday, September 26, to protest the State Government Bill allowing abortion-on-demand to 22 weeks and to term with the approval of two doctors.
The noon rally, to be held outside Toowoomba City Council offices, coincides with State Government meetings being in the city from Monday.
Spokeswoman Angela Duff from the Australian Family Association said Queenslanders should be appalled at a Bill seeking to allow abortion on-demand to 22 weeks and thereafter to term for social reasons including gender selection.
“We are motivated by love for women and their unborn children,’’ she said.
“In this Bill there are no safeguards for women facing coercion such as providing informed consent, mandatory counselling or cooling-off period between pregnancy confirmation and abortion,’’ she said.
“We’re worried women will be pressured to make what is an irreversible decision under pressure from others, at the time when they are vulnerable and without timely and relevant information about the physical and emotional consequences of that choice.
“The Queensland Law Reform Commission report which preceded this Bill estimates there are already 10,000-14,000 abortions a year in our State under existing legislation.
“Various Galaxy polls show Queenslanders are opposed to the major reasons why women consider abortions such as gender selection, financial pressure, work reasons, family size and study and career considerations.’’
Rally speaker, Toowoomba’s Madeleine Wiedemann said no one, including the GP or abortion clinic “counsellor”, encouraged her to continue the pregnancy she ended as a teen despite her obvious distress and uncertainty.
“I regret that decision every day of my life,’’ she said.
“It wasn’t until I went to university that I discovered the ‘blog of cells’ I aborted had a heartbeat, fingers and toes.’’
Another speaker, Stacey McBride Wilson from the Sunshine Coast abandoned her planned abortion at 19 weeks after viewing an ultrasound of her daughter.
Stacey, who was also a teen mum, said she felt pressured into abortion, and feared the proposed legislation would leave even more vulnerable women exposed to coercion.
“The doctor turned to me and said, ‘Everything looks fine, are you ready?’
“Everything looks fine? Everything looks fine? What does that mean?
“I told her I wanted to see the scan. She turned the screen to me and there she was, Katie, 19 weeks, sucking her thumb. And I was about to terminate her
“I drew on every bit of courage I had, which in that moment didn’t feel like much, and told her I didn’t want to go through with it.’’
The third speaker,Toowoomba GP, Dr Jovina James, said the proposed legislation concerned her for multiple reasons including restrictions on conscientious objection for doctors. Under the proposed legislation, doctors are required to refer to women to other doctors who have no objection to abortion.
“I believe it (the legislation) to be deeply anti-woman. As a woman, the idea that it will be legal to abort babies because they are female horrifies me,’’ she said.
“As a doctor, I am used to counselling patients on the pros and cons of various health decisions, helping them to arrive at a well thought-out and balanced decision that takes into account their biological, psychological and social background. This legislation seeks to curtail the ability of vulnerable women to have those conversations with a health professional who knows them.
“For doctors, opposition to abortion is a deep, unshakeable conviction that this act is contrary to the human good. We are not trying obstruct a patient’s will. And we will not cause that woman to receive substandard care.
“We simply cannot perform or be complicit in that act and remain an integral professional.’’
The rally is being promoted by a group of organisations including the Australian Christian Lobby, Cherish Life Queensland, Emily’s Voice, City Women, Australian Family Association and Abortion Rethink.
The abortion bill was introduced into parliament in August and is expected to be voted on in October.