Abortion activists won a victory in Queensland, Australia when lawmakers voted to decriminalize the killing of unborn babies.
On Wednesday, the state parliament voted 50-41 to legalize abortions for any reason up to 22 weeks of pregnancy and up to birth with the permission of two medical practitioners, The New Daily reports. The legislation also establishes 150-meter buffer zones around abortion businesses to restrict pro-life outreach.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was proud of the pro-abortion legislation and claimed abortion (the killing of unborn babies) is a “health matter.”
“This is an historic day for Queensland. The Palaszczuk government is proud to deliver on our election commitment to modernise and clarify the laws around termination of pregnancy,” Palaszczuk said. “We now join other jurisdictions, both in Australia and around the world, in recognizing termination as a health matter.”
However, Catholic Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, a strong advocate against the legislation, pointed out just how extreme the new law is. In August, he urged lawmakers to think about how they could allow unborn babies to be aborted up to birth.
“When you talk about abortion, you’re talking about two lives: the mother and the child, and both lives matter,” he told the Catholic Leader. “According to the draft bill, abortion will be permitted until the moment of delivery if two doctors consider that ‘in all circumstances, the termination should be performed.’
“Those MPs who favor the legislation should say why they can accept that Queensland babies who may have reached 40 weeks gestation can be aborted when health isn’t a factor,” he continued.
Dozens of MPs gave passionate, emotional speeches about the bill before it passed, the Daily Mail reports. The debate stretched out over two days.
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Here’s more from the Financial Review:
Labor MPs Jess Pugh and Melissa McMahon shared stories of miscarriages they had suffered, in arguing for women to have autonomy over their own bodies.
While LNP member Ted Sorenson broke down in tears on Tuesday evening when detailing how he was adopted, and labelled the laws the “kill Ted bill”.
Speaking against the changes, the LNP’s Mark McArdle, who introduced a number of amendments to the legislation which were struck down, summed up the feelings of many LNP MPs when he said he didn’t believe abortion should be in the criminal code, but also felt the proposed laws went too far.
“On the balance of the bill, I have to say I cannot support it for a fundamental number of reasons,” Mr McArdle said.
Pro-life advocates also said conscience protections are much too limited in the new law, and medical professionals could be forced to help abort unborn babies against their beliefs.
Australian states’ abortion laws vary, with some protecting unborn babies in most circumstances and others allowing wide-spread abortion on demand. New South Wales now is the only state where the killing of unborn babies is still illegal.