By Dr Terrence Kent
THE Parliament of Queensland has just debated and passed the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 without amendment.
Certainly, the first casualty of this whole process has been the truth.
In my opinion, the production of this process has been a most flawed process.
Originating in former independent MP Rob Pyne’s failed private Abortion Law Reform Bill last year, the job was given to the Queensland Law Reform Commission to report, and the result was the bill debated during the week.
The Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee called for submissions in response to the bill.
Of about 4800 submissions, 78 per cent opposed the bill, while only 15 per cent supported it.
The submission process was flawed.
The Health Committee resolved to not even accept submissions containing images of foetuses or the outcomes of medical procedures.
Really? Were they for real? Why on earth not?
Truth was down for the count in a big way like after a Muhammad Ali quick left jab.
Good submissions had big areas blacked out, or a picture of a healthy 37-week-old foetus removed.
This was not a children’s matinee movie session. This was the Parliament of Queensland. How absurd.
Why did they not want the truth about late-term abortions revealed?
Do people really think that a magic wand is waved and an abortion happens?
Do they think it is like taking out an appendix?
No, late-term abortions are gruesome and require the destruction and mutilation of babies.
Somewhere along the line the truth was not allowed to be revealed, only a watered-down version.
Then there were the presentations of some of those who had sent submissions to the committee.
These were skewed to the authors of pro-choice submissions.
Some pro-life speakers attended but were not given the chance to say even a word.
Once again truth was a casualty and was on life support but not expected to make it through the night.
The Australian Medical Association Queensland representatives gave their almost full support to the bill.
But the truth was that the AMA in Queensland only has 28 per cent of Queensland doctors as members.
That means that 72 per cent of Queensland doctors do not belong to the AMA.
Anyhow, it was only a small group who constitute their committee who approved of the bill, not a democratic vote of its 6000 members.
No pro-life doctors groups were invited to present their submissions.
Truth went on holiday.
The truth is that the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 is inhumane.
It will definitely lead to more terminations.
It will lead to more late-term abortions. It will only need two doctors for a termination to be approved over 22 weeks’ gestation.
Only one would actually need to see the patient.
They may be the abortionist who stands to profit from the destruction of the unborn child.
It will lead to more coercion of women to have abortions.
Coercion by partners, relatives or even health care workers.
The existence of coercion by partners already happening was admitted by Dr Carol Portmann, who performs terminations in Queensland, when she was questioned by the Health Committee in her presentation to the committee in Brisbane on September 12.
This coercion is a form of domestic or family violence that this committee is trying to prevent.
Then there is the issue of conscientious objection for healthcare workers including doctors, nurses and even pharmacists.
They will be compelled by the law to perform or refer patients to others to carry out terminations even when doing so is against their conscience or when the doctor believes it is not good treatment for the patient.
This disregards the freedom of the healthcare worker totally under the threat of discipline by the health regulation authority.
This has already resulted in the disciplining in Victoria of Dr Mark Hobart who refused to refer a patient who desired a sex-selection termination.
The complaint of failure to refer was not made by the patient or her partner.
Then there is the issue of so-called “safe access zones” where a 150m exclusion zone will occur around abortion centres in which people will not be able to protest.
This means that even people quietly praying across the road from an abortion provider will be breaking the law.
Whatever happened to free speech in a formerly free country?
There are already laws covering violent, intimidating or obstructing behaviour anyway. Goodbye to the truth.
The truth is that this law is a bad law. It goes too far.
The abortion law in Queensland does not need to be made more severe as it has by enacting the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018.
Queensland deserved better than this.
Women, men and certainly babies deserve better.
They have taken away all protection in law of the unborn.
They have washed their hands of their responsibility to protect all human life in Queensland.
It is an inhumane law. They did not stand up for truth.
Dr Terrence Kent is the president of the Guild of St Luke. He is a general practitioner with special interest in women’s health and problems with fertility.