Australia Hospitals in Queensland Stop Doing Abortions as Legal Debate Continues

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 24, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Hospitals in Queensland Stop Doing Abortions as Legal Debate Continues

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 24
, 2009

Brisbane, Australia (LifeNews.com) — Hospitals in the Australian state of Queensland are stopping doing abortions as doctors react to resistance from the state government to modify its abortion law. Although Premier Anna Bligh has tried to assure physicians, they are concerned that the state government will not officially legalize abortion.

Although abortions are allowed, abortion remains technically illegal and doctors who want to do abortions are concerned they may face prosecution.

They want the state to change its old law prohibiting abortions to make sure they don’t face jail time should public sentiment change and the government enforce the law someday.

The state cabinet has agreed to amend section 282 of the Queensland Criminal Code to allow abortions and the dissemination of the dangerous abortion drug RU 486, which has killed 13 women worldwide and injured tens of thousands more.

However, doctors say that isn’t enough and public hospitals in Rockhampton and Mackay have reportedly joined Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in suspending abortions. The Australian says Cairns Base Hospital is also reviewing whether or not to stop doing abortions.

"They can tinker all they like with section 282 but it does not withdraw the threat of criminal prosecutions," Ted Weaver, president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told the newspaper. "That is really the bottom line here: we would like doctors to be able to practice without the threat subsequently of having criminal charges laid against them."

The newspaper indicates the hospitals are referring women to other states for abortions and one woman traveled to Sydney to have one.

Yesterday, Bligh ruled out the extensive reform of the abortion law they seek.

"None of the parts of the criminal code that relate to termination of pregnancy will be changed by the government," Bligh said, according to the paper.

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