Abortion has been removed from the criminal code in Queensland. In a huge blow to women and their babies, MPs voted in favour of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill, 50 votes to 41. Amendments were then considered, including lowering the gestational limit for on-demand abortion from 22 weeks to 16 weeks, however each was voted down.
The new law means that women in Queensland can now access abortion, no questions asked up to 22 weeks, and to full term with the sign-off of two doctors. The law enforces 150m exclusion zones around abortion clinics, stifling even the most peaceful protest, and there is no requirement that women are offered any counselling services whatsoever.
A proposed amendment to remove “social circumstances” as an acceptable reason for abortion was also voted down, meaning women can make this life-altering decision based on such temporary life situations as unemployment, unstable relationships, study or travel. The reason they give will only be limited by their imagination.
In a final kick in the guts for the medical profession, a proposed amendment to remove the requirement that doctors with a conscientious objection refer patients to a doctor who does not object was voted down.
The debate stretched across two days, from Tuesday to Wednesday evening with 69 of the 93 members speaking to Parliament. Many shared personal accounts of their own unplanned pregnancies, or being the result of an unplanned pregnancy themselves. MPs spoke of the overwhelming response from the community in support of life, being inundated with letters, emails and petitions. Sadly, not all of Queensland’s politicians listened to the united voice of the people who courageously advocated for the life of the unborn and their mothers. In fact, many ignored the research and therefore ignored their voters.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad went so far as to state that abortion coercion does not even exist. As Abortion Rethink tweeted shortly after, it is “deeply reprehensible to deny the lived experiences of women.” Women like Miss X, who flew from NSW to have an abortion in Brisbane at 16 weeks gestation. NSW is now the only state where abortion remains within the criminal code.
In the midst of all this there’s something we want you to remember. Essentially, nothing has changed. As many as 80,000 babies are still aborted each year in Australia (14,000 in Queensland). Women are still faced with unplanned or crisis pregnancies. Women will still be coerced into making a decision to abort a baby they would have liked to parent. Circumstances still give people the impression that abortion is their only option. Unless we address the CULTURE of life, we won’t see change.
Laws give us boundaries, but CULTURE determines the spirit and future of our nation.
Think of it this way. A fence may surround a herd of sheep, but they will graze where the grass is juiciest, where the feed is lush and sweet.
Let’s keep our passion strong as we water the truth. Let’s pour love and grace onto our discussions so that people are drawn in, not shut down. Let’s put weight behind our convictions by supporting culture-change financially. Let’s step up when we see someone struggling with an unplanned pregnancy.
Let’s not wait for another political debate to be passionate advocates for life today.
Help Emily’s Voice change the culture of life. Now, more than ever, our campaigns are vital to gently but boldly declare the value of life. Every life. To reveal to women that there is real choice, choice that nurtures two lives. Be part of the change by making a donation today. Your donation today may just be the future for a mother and her child tomorrow.