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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 September 2018) . . Page.. 3847 ..

MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (6.02): I stand to introduce the Liberals’ position that this is being treated as a conscience issue. As is the tradition of the Liberal Party right across the country, issues of life and death are treated by each member of the Liberals according to their conscience. To that end, the Canberra Liberals reflect the views of the broader Canberra community in that there is a diversity of views in our community and there is a diversity of views within the Canberra Liberals.

As would be of no surprise to members of this place, I will be voting no to this legislation, based on many of the specifics in the legislation but also on the principle of not wanting to broaden access to abortions in the ACT. Again I want to reiterate that this is a conscience issue for the Canberra Liberals and each member will be voting according to their wishes.

MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (6.04): Tonight I stand to thank Ms Le Couteur for bringing this important piece of legislation forward and to also support the government amendments to the bill. As Mrs Dunne has stated, it is about choice. I would like to thank her for her respectful comments, although I am sure she will completely understand that we disagree on many points in those comments. I thank her for being respectful in this debate, because it is about choice. It is about a woman’s choice of control over her own body.

I stand here today as a woman who has had an abortion and who is proud to stand here and support any other woman in the community who needs or wants to access any and every form of reproductive health. Abortion is one of the hardest decisions a woman can make. It is made for many different reasons. A woman may be raped. A woman may be in a domestic situation into which it is not conducive to bringing a child. To broaden the access for all women of our community to be able to have an abortion where they choose and where they feel they will be safest is of the utmost importance.

When Ms Le Couteur introduced this bill I had some queries of my own. I have raised those and spoken to many different members of the community, both women and men, professionals in this area who deal with these sorts of things on a daily basis. I also reflected on my time and the reasons why I felt I needed to access abortion services here in the ACT.

I do believe that broadening access for women to abortion is crucial to the rights of our community. Women have had to fight for control of their bodies for many years. I was very grateful to hear Minister Fitzharris and Minister Berry today speaking on some of their views. Some of the amendments that the government is putting forward today I am also really happy to see come forward. I think Ms Le Couteur had the best of intentions to allow women access to different forms of abortion, to abortion that suits their needs and makes them the safest they can be. But there are always ways we can make it safer and more accessible for every woman in the territory.

I would like to add my voice to those of the women in the strong Labor movement that I am a member of. We have fought for many years, and the men in the Labor

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