A BILL to legalise abortion in Queensland is expected to be decided in a tight vote in the state’s parliament next week.
This follows a party room meeting of the opposition Liberal National Party on October 9 in which MPs voted to allow a conscience vote.
Opposition leader Deb Frecklington issued a statement saying although she supports a conscience vote, she does not support the bill.
“It has been a longstanding position of the LNP Party Room that matters about the creation or ending of life are treated as matters of conscience,” she said.
“Personally, I have carefully considered the bill and I am not of a conscience to support it.”
Labor holds a slim majority in the Queensland parliament, and with its members already committed to a conscience vote, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the parliamentary vote would come “down to the wire”.
It’s unknown how many MPs will abstain or vote against the bill.
Legislation contained in a government-backed Termination of Pregnancy Bill would allow women to terminate pregnancies up to 22 weeks, and until birth with the permission of two doctors.
“Safe zones” of 150 metres would be enforced around abortion clinics in order to exclude protesters.
Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge has already weighed in on the proposed legal changes telling The Catholic Leader in August: “It’s an essentially moral issue that concerns the good of society as a whole because it touches on questions of life and death”.
Archbishop Coleridge cautioned that many women chose abortion out of desperation, believing that they had no other options, because those who support abortion did not present other choices.
“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 said.
Pro life campaigner Dr Donna Purcell is urging Queenslanders to “write or ring” their state members in a last ditch effort to influence the parliamentary vote against abortion.
“We’re hoping those MPs who are undecided or feel compelled for party reasons, will have a look for themselves what this (abortion bill) means,” Dr Purcell, president of Cherish Life Queensland, said.
“Not to listen to the push for abortion, but to consider that babies are fully formed and developed by 12 weeks, let alone up to 22 weeks.
“We know that babies 22 weeks and more are being saved, or rescued, when the they are born prematurely – so we are talking about saving babies on one hand and killing them on another hand.”
Thousands of Queenslanders had attended pro-life rallies across the state, and there will be one final “Rally for Life” before the parliamentary vote
Dr Purcell, a Catholic who attends Sacred Heart parish in Toowoomba, said she was “amazed” that some Queensland’s doctors, members of the AMA, supported the abortion bill.
She said both mother and unborn baby should be treated as patients, yet some doctors only considered the mother’s health as important.
“They are willing to lie down and accept this (abortion) as a fait accompli up to 22 weeks with no questions asked… that there should be no investigation into the other factors that could make a woman feel coerced into an abortion or that she had no choice,” Dr Purcell said.
“It’s just not the way medicine should be practiced these days.”
Dr Purcell said the bill did not offer safeguards against gender sex selection of babies.
Thousands of pro-lifers are expected to gather for the “Rally for Life” outside Parliament House on Saturday October 13.
The rally will start at 2pm at Speakers’ Corner, 15 George St, between Parliament House and the Botanic Gardens.
LNP MP Mark Robinson said Queenslanders faced the prospect of living under extreme late-term abortion laws.
“This is clearly not our legislation – and would never have been brought forward by a LNP government,” Mr Robinson, a pro-life Christian, and member for Brisbane’s bayside electorate of Oodgeroo, said.
“It’s only because the Labor Party now has become so extreme left that this legislation is enforced by (deputy premier) Jackie Trad against all of her colleagues.
Mr Robinson said there was intense pressure on Labor members of faith to support what he described as “the most extreme abortion laws in the world”.
“The pressure on the Catholic and other Christian members is intense and amounts to bullying of Christians within the Labor party,” he said.