The abortion debate is one that rages wherever it is found. Australia is no different in that sense than any other place, there are those that are against abortion and there are those that are for a woman's right to be able to make that decision for themselves. I am one who believes that a woman has the right to choose and that right should not be impeded by legislation or by others through fear or intimidation.
The debate in Australia comes and goes. It generally comes when there is news related to abortion or when government's seek to legislate to restrict or broaden access to abortions. In Victoria, the government is seeking to pass a bill that will decriminalize abortion. The bill has successfully navigated the lower house of the Victorian Parliament and now only needs to get through the upper house.
Decriminalizing abortion simply means that the provisions in the Victorian Crimes Act relating to abortion will be repealed. The Abortion Law Reform Bill will allow women to terminate a pregnancy up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy. Having seen the Kid on the USG at 24 weeks it is a hell of a decision to have to make, but I still support the right of a woman to make that decision.
I would hope that the woman has access to all the necessary services to make an informed decision, and then I would hope that she has access to post-termination support services if they are required.
The bill when it is passed into law (assuming that it successfully gets through the upper house) will require that two doctors are involved in the process and they will decide if the termination is warranted based on the woman's physical, psychological, and social circumstances.
It is not expected to be plain sailing for the bill in the upper house and amendments are expected. There are some problematic issues such as the fact that a termination can take place up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy. This brought out a number of protesters (photo courtesy of AAP).
And, that doctors who do not want to perform abortions and object on conscientious grounds would be required to refer the woman to another doctor that does not have any conscientious objections to performing the procedure. This in effect makes the conscientious objector complicit in the process to terminate the pregnancy.
However, on balance, I hope this legislation passes the Victorian Parliament and a woman's decision to terminate her pregnancy is no longer a crime.
A woman must have the right to choose and this right must be protected.