Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 4 August 2022) . . Page.. 2459 ..
While this is a personal matter, there remains the question of why one person’s view should prevent another person from making decisions over their own body. While I respect the right for every individual to make the decision that is right for them, I think our law should enshrine the ability for every individual to make that decision, by themselves, of their own choosing.
As I have mentioned in my speech, there is a lot of work still to be done on making abortion accessible within Australia. While the gains that we have had in the past should be celebrated, they are far from perfect in providing healthcare for women when they need it, and we should look to the future and ways we can continue to improve.
That is the genesis that has brought Roe v Wade into the conversations I have had with many people. It has made us all go back and look and ask:
While we’ve assumed we have had it good, how good do we actually have it? What do we do to make sure we continue to have access to healthcare that does not discriminate against women?
I commend the motion to the Assembly and look forward to voting in favour of it.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (5.49): I am pleased to rise and speak in support of the motion from the Minister for Women, expressing solidarity with women and people who can become pregnant in the United States, and supporting their right to safe and accessible abortion. I, like many members of this chamber, as we have heard, was shocked when the Supreme Court of the United States delivered the decision to overturn the important precedent of Roe v Wade.
Legal commentary aside, it is shocking that a country like the United States, which is supposed to be developed and advanced, could have such a medical right torn away after almost 50 years of protection. I am glad that in the ACT it is uncontroversial to support the right of a person who can become pregnant to decide what to do with
their own body. I am glad that in the ACT it is uncontroversial to say that abortion is health care.
It is very heartening to live in the progressive jurisdiction that we do, where the focus is on wellbeing and good health policy rather than ideological control over our citizens’ bodies. Clearly, this is an issue to do with the fundamental freedoms that women and people who can become pregnant ought to be able to have, unencumbered. Proper healthcare should never be an instrument of sexist oppression. Lives and physical and mental wellbeing are at stake.
The ACT Greens are clear about our support for abortion rights in the territory. We have taken a range of specific and practical measures to protect and improve those rights as part of our role in this Assembly.
In 2015 I introduced the Health (Patient Privacy) Amendment Bill, so that people accessing abortion in the ACT could do so without fear of harassment. In light of the experience some patients were having when accessing abortions at the clinic in the