Freedom to Choose
URGENT – To our Victorian politicians: The women of Victoria are dismayed at the Victorian Liberal Party in planning to amend the laws governing abortion. You will know that we fought for the right of women to own their own bodies and their reproductive processes. We strongly object to others forcing their views on women. We also assert that hospitals that receive funding from the taxpayer should not bring their own bias to decisions for other persons. We note that the rights of men to have vasectomies have never been disputed.
URGENT – The NSW Parliament (Zoe’s Law) that proposes to endow “personhood” on a foetus so that abortion would be classed as murder – support WEL NSW and other feminist organisations to defeat this new move by the far right. The Bill has not passed in the NSW Parliament. Many women’s groups including WEL lobbied against it!
Women’s Electoral Lobby believes that every woman should have the freedom to choose whether to have an abortion or not. Women who have money can always procure an abortion. WEL remembers the terrible consequences when poor women took matters into their own hands and inserted metal coat hangers into their vaginas in order to procure an abortion. This must never happen again. We must be eternally vigilant that women do not lose their gains.
The Abortion Bill was passed on 10 October 2008 in Victoria. Abortion has now been decriminalised.
The Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) Report on Law Of Abortion was tabled in the Victorian parliament on 29 May 2008. The VLRC said “It is essential that the law is modernised, clear and widely understood”. “Abortion is readily available in Melbourne through public and private providers. There are no private abortion clinics in regional Victoria and only a small number of regional public hospitals provide abortion. Most women in regional Victoria must travel to Melbourne to access abortion services. Abortion is regulated by health legislation, hospital regulations and laws that govern the health profession. These laws are comprehensive and the Commission does not recommend any further specific regulation of abortion services.”
Victorian law provides for a two-staged approach with different rules for early abortions and late abortions which are defined as over 24 weeks. The only requirements for early abortion are the woman’s consent and the procedure to be performed by a medical practitioner. After 24 weeks, abortion is lawful if a doctor determines risk of harm to the woman.
Members should be aware that the statistics often quoted for abortion numbers come from Medicare statistics which include all curettes, which of course are ordinary procedures for many women with spontaneous abortions or at menopause.
WEL National Policy (see below) spell out abortion definitions and the sane and sensible situation on freedom to choose safe abortion for all Australian women.
News on RU486
August 2012. The abortion drug RU486 is now on the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s register, meaning it will be more widely available to Australian women. The drug was previously only allowed to be imported and prescribed by a handful of GPs. But an application by reproductive health group Marie Stopes International was successful, meaning it is now be more widely available and in a controlled way.
Only medical practitioners recognised by Marie Stopes International as having completed appropriate training will be able to prescribe the drug. Another abortion drug, misoprostol, has also been placed on the register.
RU486 is legally used in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand.
Who was Marie Stopes? Dr Marie Stopes, 1880-1958, was a leading advocate for birth control and published her famous book “Married Love” in 1918. She established the U.K.’s first family planning clinic in North London in 1921. In 1999 she was voted “Woman of the Millenium” by the Guardian newspaper U.K. readers.
In Dakota, USA, new legislation defines human life as commencing at conception, which makes abortion a serious crime.
Catholic billionaire Melinda Gates has thrown down the gauntlet to the Vatican by dedicating the rest of her life to improving access to contraception across the globe.
In Ireland, the government has decided to repeal the legislation that criminalises abortion and to introduce regulations setting out when doctors can perform the procedure. This will be when a woman’s life is regarded as being at risk, including the threat of suicide.
As abortion in all States except Victoria and the ACT is still illegal, there is a lack of doctors willing to deal with unwanted pregnancies in some rural areas, according to Suzie Reid, of the Goulburn Women’s Health. Abortion is still a criminal act that is not prosecuted by police but doctors can be harassed where they may visit a small town only once a week. There is a very powerful anti-abortion lobby there, but this only represents 16 percent of the population. Rural women sometimes have to travel to cities, resulting in problems of accommodation, cost and child care for other children. Abortion must be decriminalised everywhere, and, in Victoria and the ACT, where this has been done, there has been no increase in its incidence.
More information at the links below:
WEL National Policy
WEL affirms that women of all ages (regardless of marital status, religious affiliation, cultural background and sexual preferences) must have access to:
- all forms of safe and legal health services and medical procedures which relate to their sexual health and reproductive lives;
- well-researched, unbiased, accurate and easily understood information which enables them to make informed decisions about health services and medical procedures;
- safe, legal and affordable abortion services.
WEL believes that abortion should be regulated under health laws.
WEL believes that all references to non-surgical abortion be removed from the criminal codes of all jurisdications in Australia.
WEL believes that surgical abortion, performed by qualified health professionals, should be removed from the criminal codes of all jurisdications in Australia.
Definitions of Abortion
Abortion is the interruption of pregnancy before the 21st week (after that time, the term is miscarriage). This can occur in two ways:
– Spontaneous abortion, which is an abortion that occurs naturally.
– Induced abortion is where the pregnancy is interruption by artificial means (also called termination of pregnancy).
CLICK here to read the 2007 Report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Abortion Law in Tasmania
Michelle O’Byrne, Tasmanian Minister for Health, has tabled the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill to decriminalise abortion in Tasmania, but a number of amendments have weakened provisions in the initial draft Bill.The Bill has now passed.