THE Australian Family Association has launched a public campaign urging Queenslanders to pressure their state MP’s not to support a proposed abortion bill.
The AFA said newly commissioned polling showed more voters were opposed to decriminalising abortion than were in favour and used the campaign to announce the results.
The poll was a response to a proposal for a private members bill tabled by Cairns-based parliamentarian, Rob Pyne last Tuesday, aimed at legalising abortion for women up to nine months pregnant.
Both major parties – Labor and LNP – have said they would allow MP’s a conscience vote on the issue.
AFA vice president Angela Duff, along with other community members and specialists concerned about reforms to abortion laws, has urged Queenslanders to voice their opposition to their local MP’s, while the bill is considered by a parliamentary committee, and before the bill is debated in Parliament.
The process could take months but the campaign speakers warned against passing “rushed” proposals.
“We believe it’s important for the government not to rush this legislation when there are literally lives at stake as a result of it,” Mrs Duff said.
“MP’s need to consult with the community and get their views and not rush an issue such as this without consulting widely.”
Ms Duff, who is 12-weeks pregnant with her third child, said market researcher Galaxy Research had conducted comprehensive polling through a telephone survey that indicated there was no consensus for the abortion law to be changed, except to introduce safeguards for women such as independent counselling, cooling-off periods and parental consent – as well as conscientious objection provisions for doctors and nurses.
“This research shows that the majority of Queenslanders (53 per cent) either want the law to stay as it is, or are in favour of making it stricter, with 39 per cent of voters wanting it less restrictive,” Mrs Duff said.
“Similarly, 49 per cent of Queensland voters do not want abortion decriminalised, while 43 per cent are in favour of decriminalisation.”
This contrasts with recent claims by the pro-abortion lobby that there is 80 per cent support for such a move.
“Of course decriminalisation would mean abortion was legal for any reason until birth. That is the model for the pro-abortion lobby,” Mrs Duff said.
“With 13 specific, objectively-worded questions, this comprehensive research has avoided skimming the surface of the issue as most past polls have done and has drilled down to find out what the Queensland public really believes.”
Other key poll findings included:
- almost every respondent (94 per cent) believed that before having an abortion a woman should receive free independent counselling and information so that she could make a fully informed decision
- more than four out of five (84 per cent) of Queensland voters believe that abortion could harm the mental and/or physical health of a woman.
- “When asked “up to what stage of pregnancy would you allow abortion”, 22 per cent of Queensland voters said “not at all” and 50 per cent said only in the first three months – meaning 72 per cent of Queensland voters are opposed to abortion past the first trimester. An overwhelming majority (85 per cent) of voters are opposed to abortion past 20 weeks, with only six per cent in favour.
A copy of the full report is available here at the Abortion Rethink website.
Full details about the campaign are available at www.abortionrethink.org.
By Mark Bowling