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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 109..


MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: I do not think it is, either, Mr Stanhope.

Mr Stanhope: But I think you did give Ms MacDonald the call. Two members rose to their feet at the same time. I believe you called Ms MacDonald and then Mr Stefaniak spoke before Ms MacDonald.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: I looked towards Ms MacDonald.

Mr Stanhope: I believe you gave her the call.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: I might have at that. The question is:

That the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for the next sitting.

We have agreed to the adjourning of the debate on this bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Repeal Bill 2001

Mr Berry, pursuant to notice, presented the bill.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BERRY (10.44): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Repeal Bill is a bill to repeal the Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Act 1998. One has only to look to the preamble to that legislation to find glaring reasons for its repeal. The preamble to that act states:

1. The Legislative Assembly wishes to ensure that proper information is provided to a woman who is considering an abortion.

2. The Legislative Assembly also wishes to ensure that neither complying nor failing to comply with these requirements to provide information will affect whether or not an abortion or other act is lawful for the purposes of sections 40 to 45 (inclusive) of the Crimes Act 1900, which deal with abortion and related matters.

The first question that has to be addressed is: what is "proper information" in the context of a women who is considering an abortion?

In the course of the debate on this bill, some reliance was given to the 1992 decision of the High Court in Rogers v Whitaker as the rationale for the legislated provision of information in relation to abortion. The High Court decision which was referred to was in relation to a patient who had suffered an eye injury and the substance of the case was an appeal against the judgment of a lower court awarding damages as a result of the outcome of surgery. It was not about abortion at all; it was about the obligations on doctors to warn patients of risks associated with treatment.


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