Queensland, Australia Government Refuses Bid to Remove Abortion Ban Law
by Steven Ertelt
December 28, 2009
Brisbane, Australia (LifeNews.com) — The government of the Australian state of Queensland has resisted a petition campaign to request that the old law banning abortions there be removed from the books. The law is not enforced as abortions are allowed nationwide across the various states.
Abortion advocates got the signatures of just 4,368 people requesting that the law be removed from the books.
State Attorney-General Cameron Dick has issued an official response saying he would not remove abortion from the Criminal Code.
"The Premier has made clear that the government has no plans to undertake a wider review of the general abortion laws," Dick wrote, according to The Australian newspaper.
"Any move to change the legislative provisions concerning abortion would have to be introduced as a private member’s bill and be subject to a conscience vote. The Premier has indicated that she would not seek to bind any of her colleagues to a particular position," the attorney general added.
The newspaper indicated more than 6,000 Queenslanders signed a pro-life petition asking that the law remain on the books.
The debate over the law opened when a couple was charged under it with illegally importing the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug from Ukraine. If convicted, Tegan Leach faces up to seven years in prison and Sergie Brennan could receive a maximum of three years.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists had upset pro-life advocates by joining the pro-abortion push to overturn the law.
The parliament in Queensland eventually approved an amendment to its criminal code saying the dangerous abortion drug RU 486 is legal.
Premier Anna Bligh told MPs that the amendments merely make it clear that drug-induced abortions can be done in Queensland along with surgical abortions. The opposition had been concerned it was a veiled attempt to decriminalize abortion in Queensland, but enough changes were made to satisfy members of the minority party.
According to Sky News, Deputy Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg commended Attorney-General Cameron Dick for taking into consideration the opposition’s concerns.
"I believe there was an abundance of caution principle that needed to be applied in this particular case," Springborg told parliament before the amendments passed. "To make sure that no-one could misinterpret there was a difference between a medical procedure and a surgical procedure and that certainly has put that particular matter beyond doubt."
Independent MP for Gladstone Liz Cunningham was the only dissenter when the vote came down. Cunningham said she believed the laws would lead to more abortions being performed in Queensland.
Independent Dorothy Pratt expressed concern that abortion was becoming a form of contraception but supported the Bill.
The debate over changing the law came to a head in recent days as women seeking drug-induced abortions in hospitals were sent to other Australian states.
Public hospitals in Rockhampton and Mackay had reportedly joined Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in suspending abortions.
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