A CLAIM that Queensland faced “a legal medical emergency” which would open the door for the state to follow last year’s lead from Victoria and decriminalise abortion was ridiculous, Cherish Life Queensland (CLQ) president Teresa Martin said last week.
In a story in The Australian, former state Labor MP Bonnie Barry made the claim after the prosecution of a Cairns couple for illegally importing the abortion drug RU-486 and then using it without medical supervision to procure the abortion of their unborn child.
Ms Barry, in what was seen as an attempt to put pressure on Premier Anna Bligh to act, also revealed that draft legislation dating back to 2003 existed to decriminalise abortion in Queensland.
However, Ms Martin called on Queensland parliamentarians “to stand firm and reject the brutal laws that Victoria recently passed, under which any unborn baby can be killed, for any reason at all until birth”.
Queensland Bioethics Centre director Ray Campbell supported Ms Martin’s stand.
Mr Campbell told The Catholic Leader that “there is no doubt that pro-abortion groups are using the unfortunate case in northern Queensland as an excuse to once again push for a change to the abortion law in Queensland”, adding that “the case itself is very curious”.
Ms Martin said recent research showed 53 per cent of Queenslanders were opposed to abortion for non-medical, or financial or social reasons, with only 28 per cent in favour.
She said Ms Barry was indulging in wishful thinking if she thought the people of Queensland would support such a depraved law.
“Where is this so-called ‘legal medical emergency’?” Ms Martin said. “The fact that 15,000 Queensland women have abortions each year shows that unfortunately there is no difficulty in obtaining an abortion in this state.
“Even though not often enforced, the law against abortion still has a vital educative role, instructing society that the intentional killing of pre-born humans is totally wrong.
“The law against abortion also needs to remain on the statute books as a safeguard for women against being pressured by their partners and an essential defence for doctors and nurses who refuse to co-operate in the killing of unborn children.”
Mr Campbell said it was “very sad that the best support that some people are able to offer a woman who is pregnant and is worried about carrying on with the pregnancy is to offer them a pill to take so as to kill their baby”.
“Pro-abortion advocates continually hail the new legislation in Victoria as a model, and yet this piece of legislation offered next to nothing by way of support to women who are struggling with their pregnancy,” he said.
“The only answer the Victorian Government has to a difficult situation is to make it easier to kill the baby while at the same time seeking to punish those who want to help both the woman and her baby.
“It is good that many groups are already campaigning to let their local politicians know that they do not favour any further loosening of the laws on abortion in Queensland”.
Mr Campbell also noted “the archdiocese of Brisbane has launched its own positive response to the needs of women through establishing and supporting the Walking with Love campaign”.
“This a grassroots campaign of people who are willing to make themselves available to assist women who are pregnant,” he said.
“Walking with Love groups are now established in several parishes and more parishes are expressing interest.”
Another Brisbane group Pregnancy Crisis Inc has recently assisted several women who chose to have their babies rather than abort them.
Meanwhile, Bishop Morris expressed “grave concerns for the health and well-being of women” given that RU-486 would now be made more readily available from Marie Stopes International.
“I do have grave concerns for women seeking out the services of Marie Stopes International now that the organisation has been granted approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to administer RU-486 which in effect triggers a miscarriage with the popping of a pill,” he said.
“Effectively this means that an agency that receives a financial compensation for the provision of the abortion is the same one providing the advice – which is a clear conflict of interest.
“It is extremely troubling to me that it appears that Marie Stopes International will in effect be able to administer RU-486 at the request of a sometimes confused, troubled, distressed patient without having to meet requirements that exist for other authorised prescribers of the drug.”
Bishop Morris said it was well known that the Catholic Church sought to protect human life in all situations – including life in the womb.
“Women faced with an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy are often confronted with one of the most challenging of life situations,” he said.
“Ensuring that women have access to the full range of care and support options at this time is critical.”
Bishop Morris said Church agencies such as Centacare provided pregnancy support services for any woman facing an unplanned pregnancy.
More information on Walking with Love can be received by contacting the John Paul II Centre for Family and Life on (07) 3366 2188. Pregnancy Crisis Inc can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org