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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2927..


MR BERRY (continuing):

I am disturbed that our chief law officer has that view of the world in relation to abortion. He says, "Why is it that the Labor Party can endorse a guilt trip on cigarette smoking with a health message but will not support a guilt trip on abortion?". What are we on about here? Does this legislation have as its prime aim making women feel guilty? So far as Mr Humphries is concerned, I suspect that it does. This legislation is about making women the victims because they have exercised choice. I think that is an appalling position, but the analogy that was drawn by Mr Humphries really painted the picture for us.

Let us have a look at his other analogy. He then went to laws on female genital mutilation. What an appalling analogy! It would make one weep to see our chief law officer drawing an analogy between laws on female genital mutilation and a woman's right to choose. What an appalling analogy! It tells you how this Minister thinks in relation to the issue of abortion. One wonders how he thinks in relation to a whole range of issues.

Mr Stefaniak tried to convince us that really this was just about information and that abortions would be as available as they once were, but he had not talked to Mr Smyth, because Mr Smyth thinks that it will stop abortions and that it will save 1,000 lives.

Mr Smyth: No, not true. I said that I hoped that it would stop abortion.

MR BERRY: He hoped that it would save 1,000 lives.

Mr Smyth: That is a big difference. You are misrepresenting.

MR BERRY: I would rather be firmer in my understanding of the laws that you are attempting to pass than to be just hoping. I would hope that we were in a better position to examine these laws and to pass good law for the Territory. Mr Smyth, I think your understanding of the law is poor. You should not proceed down the path of making law if you do not understand it well.

Mr Smyth: And I think your assertions have been in very bad taste. You misrepresent people continually because you think it is smart in politics.

MR SPEAKER: Order!

MR BERRY: I do not mind. It is okay. I can protect myself, Mr Speaker. It was very clear that Mr Smyth's intention was that this legislation would save lives - that is, prevent abortions; that is, force women to go somewhere else for them. I read to you a letter which I was given to read to a public meeting recently. It talks about the history of abortion. I think it is important to have it on the record here. It states:

I am very sorry I am unable to accept the invitation to speak at today's public meeting in support of a woman's right to make a decision about whether or not to terminate an unplanned pregnancy.


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