Moralistic arguments ought to be set aside and the NSW abortion bill should be passed without amendment, argues DR MIKE FREELANDER, the federal member for Macarthur:
Until now I have restrained myself from commenting on the so-called “Abortion Bill” in the NSW Parliament as this is a state issue, has had bipartisan support, and is simply a Bill about decriminalising a medical issue.
However, as a paediatrician and politician, I feel that recent events and comments by others warrant my views being known.
There are several points I would like to make:
Abortion debates have occurred in Australia before, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s.
At that time, many women were forced into using “backyard” abortionists and some were rendered sterile by the procedure and its complications and occasionally women died following a botched abortion.
The women who suffered the most grievous problems were mostly the poor and the poorly educated. Wealthier families could usually access better treatment.
Abortions are performed throughout Australia, including NSW, and there has not been a criminal prosecution in living memory.
Abortion is a very difficult issue for everyone, but in my experience it is never taken lightly and it is a medical issue between a woman and her physician.
There is absolutely no evidence that abortion is used for gender selection in Australia.
Late term abortion is only used for severe medical issues and is never undertaken without rigorous medical review.
This Bill should be passed without amendment in its entirety, bringing NSW in line with other states.
As a paediatrician who has been involved in these issues before, I deplore some of the public comments made by others who I believe have no moral authority to criminalise a profound medical issue.
Women, as they always have, should be supported to make these medical decisions with their partners and physicians without the pompous, often inappropriate and turgid moralistic imposts by those who don’t understand the real issue.
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