Jun 4, 2014

How conservative MPs are trying to undermine abortion rights

Victorian MP Geoff Shaw is the latest conservative Australian politician to try to limit access to abortions. Freelance journalist David Donaldson says it wouldn't be easy to outlaw abortion altogether, but chipping away at the edges could produce long-lasting restrictions.

Victorian Parliament is in crisis, as divisive Frankston MP Geoff Shaw has declared he would support a no-confidence motion against Liberal Premier Denis Napthine. The balance-of-power MP has tried to goad Napthine and other MPs into debating abortion rights, calling those who refused to be drawn on the issue “moral cowards” (Napthine said he would not try to limit a woman’s right to choose). He also pronounced Victoria’s abortion laws, which allow terminations up to 24 weeks, to be the “worst in the world”.

The formerly Liberal (now independent) MP is preparing a private member’s bill to eliminate the requirement that doctors who object to abortion must refer the patient to another doctor, as well as outlawing gender-selective and late-term abortions. He has also recently travelled overseas to learn how American conservatives are limiting abortion rights. It is unknown at this point if Shaw’s bill will make it to state Parliament, particularly with a possible early election looming.

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3 thoughts on “How conservative MPs are trying to undermine abortion rights

  1. Flickknifetipsy

    Today’s news reported that the bodies of 800 babies have been discovered in the septic tank of a home for unmarried mother’s. Pro life believers are living in a fools world – we have never and still do not support single mothers sufficiently. Pro Lifers are also comparatively affluent and often hold the view that taxes should be low, government small and welfare is too generous. YIn the days before abortion infanticide was common. It seems it may have been practiced very recently in Ireland.
    The world is often a cruel and harsh place for women and children I would not like to see our abortion laws made more restrictive because as a society we seem to be unwilling to provide adequate housing, education, healthcare and food for the disadvantaged.

  2. Djbekka

    It seems to me that conservatives use abortion to try to get voters to look at something else. With the exception of the bill in NSW that was proposed, and passed in the lower house, in part to acknowledge the feeling of grief of women who suffer other injuries and have a late miscarriage or still birth, most forays into making abortion less, rather than more accessible are part of another strategy. most successfully by Prime Minister Howard who, with the support of the ALP, traded off foreign aid to assist women with fertility control in order to sell off Telstra – note Tasmania got a lot of benefits as well. Geoff Shaw may be using it to say ‘remember me’, though he seems to be fairly self defeating recently. The States with abortion in the Crimes Act or Criminal Code are simply continuing nineteenth century legislation and those that have less draconian laws have gone through very transparent processes of law reform since 1970.

    Furthermore, and this is important, while the number of abortions has increased, so has the population, the percentage of the population undergoing abortions has remained the same or decreased. It is difficult to know which because record keeping was non-existent before Medibank and Medicare. States simply could not keep records about illegal activity undertaken silently and in private. What particularly amuses me about the continued repeating of the number (sic?) 80,000-100,000 annually is that the same number was sometimes used for shock value in the late 1960s when the total population was about 12.5 million, today the ABS population clock reports a bit over 23.5 million.

    What’s this about then, if not an increase in the termination of pregnancies? I agree with Eva Cox – watch out for the dog whistle about the dangers of women’s equality and self determination. What most disturbs me is that some of the leaders are the age of my adult offspring. Watch out young women, prepare to campaign against your fathers and mothers.

  3. Steve777

    It’s funny how many of those who shout loudest and longest about how the Government should get out of our lives nonetheless want the Government to legislate on reproduction. Also how concern for life in the womb seems to be inversely proportional to concern for life after the child is born.

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