Australia Case of Smuggled Abortion Drug Starts Battle Over Law in Queensland
by Steven Ertelt
April 20, 2009
Cairns, Australia (LifeNews.com) — An Australian teenager and her partner will go to court in June in a case involving charges against them for smuggling the dangerous abortion drug into Australia. Now, abortion advocates are using the case as a call for eliminating illegal abortion laws in the state of Queensland.
The case involves 19-year-old Tegan Simone Leach, who is apparently the first to be charged under Queensland’s laws making abortion illegal in 50 years.
Although abortion is technically prohibited, abortions are allowed under a court decision as they are in the United States.
Leach and her partner face up to 14 years in prison on the charges of smuggling the abortion drug into Australia, where it is only legal if dispensed by pre-approved abortion practitioners. They allegedly obtained the abortion drug from a physician in the Ukraine.
The couple is expected to appear on June 11 in Cairns Magistrate’s Court and will tell the judge that they thought they were too young to carry the baby to term and become parents.
They reportedly did not ask about legal abortion options or find out that the abortion drug is available in Cairns from abortion practitioner Caroline de Costa, the first in the island nation approved to dispense the drug that has killed more than a dozen women worldwide.
Now, abortion advocates tell the Courier Mail newspaper that they want Queensland to remove its abortion prohibits from the books in the same way Victoria did.
Kate Marsh, of Children By Choice, said the couple is "our cause celebre."
"It comes as such a shock that someone can be charged with this offence in this day and age," she told the paper. "We’d like to see abortion removed from the criminal code and be regulated like any other health procedure."
"It is an emotional issue and people have strong opinions about it," she added, saying she wants the state parliament to float a bill to "decriminalize" abortion. "But this unprecedented case highlights the urgency to change the laws."
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