Page 2460 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2022
city, it was important that we created an exclusion zone around that facility to avoid them having to run the gauntlet of direct personal confrontation. My colleague at the time, Caroline Le Couteur, brought the Health (Improving Abortion Access) Amendment Bill 2018, which further bolstered abortion rights in the territory.
These are just two examples of the steps we have taken. We must remain vigilant—not only in ensuring legal barriers are removed, but in taking positive action to ensure proper access to abortion services. It is in this vein that I would draw the attention of members, and anyone else watching, to the inquiry being conducted by the Standing Committee on Health and Community Wellbeing, which has submissions open until 15 August.
Unfortunately, it seems that rights that may seem secure and beyond reproach one day can then be eroded the next. I do not think this is likely in the ACT, but we must make sure that such important rights are guarded jealously and with great vigilance. I affirm my commitment to always ensuring appropriate abortion access.
I am conscious that I have spoken in this debate when all the other speakers have been female members of the Assembly. I think it is important that men also contribute to this debate. This issue is most relevant to women, but men must stand alongside women and indicate our clear support for this right. I accept it is a much more personal issue for my female colleagues. I do not seek to diminish that but to simply indicate that this is not something that is solidly the responsibility of women to fight for.
As with the minister’s motion, I express our solidarity with our experts in the United States who continue to fight for this simple premise. It is disappointing that it needs to be fought for at all, but it is extremely heartening to see passionate advocates in the US standing up in the face of extremely difficult circumstances. It is important we continue to discuss these issues and reaffirm our commitments to safety and security for women and people who can become pregnant.
The ACT Greens will always be part of this fight to protect these rights. I am very pleased to support the motion. I thank the minister for bringing it forward to provide this opportunity for us all to discuss these matters.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (5.53), in reply: I begin by thanking everybody for their contributions to this motion. It is a very important motion, and it sends a very strong message of solidarity to our friends in America who have been impacted by this decision.
I note that Ms Lawder was the only member of the Canberra Liberals to speak in support of this motion today. I thank her for it. Standing up for your convictions, even in this place, sends a really strong message across our community to women and people who can be pregnant. I really do thank her for sharing her own very personal lived experience of the nastiness, violence and hatred she felt and that was directed at her for having an abortion.