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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2957 ..

Mr Humphries: On abortion.

MR BERRY: Okay, on abortion. I think my colleague Mr Hargreaves would express a different view in relation to the matter. Perhaps there are others of us who would have a different view not only on abortion but on the amendments which have been put before this place in relation to the matter. It would also allow the community to put pressure on members, one way or the other, to determine their position and perhaps to determine a new position. I have no difficulty with that. I do not intend to change. I have no reason to change my views in relation to the pro-choice cause. I would hope that some who claim they are pro-choice might change theirs one day. I would hope that people like Mr Rugendyke, who is new to this place, might have the opportunity to listen to other views about this matter and not be influenced by the political imperatives. Nevertheless, it seems that Mr Rugendyke's open mind is closed. That is something of a pity but it does not surprise me that much, given his connections.

Mr Kaine made a point about my listening to the Right to Life Association and changing my mind. No, I would not change my mind. Their position is extreme and it is one they are entitled to, but it is not one that I would try to press upon other people. I do not endorse the Right to Life Association's philosophy. I think it is extreme and in some cases inhumane, but at the same time I would be prepared to look at the amendments and the logic behind them in relation to this matter.

The Right to Life Association's position on this legislation is inexplicable. It just shows the amount of hypocrisy that one can expect from this organisation when it comes to putting the pressure on women. They are people who profess not to support abortions of any kind yet they will support the humiliation of women. I think that is disgraceful. I do not mind their position about not supporting abortion providing they keep it to themselves and observe their own standards. That is fine with me and, as I said earlier, I respect them for it if that is the discipline they seek to follow. In fact, I would honour their right to persist with that doctrine for themselves, but for no-one else. It is not their right to impose their views on someone else. It is not their right to humiliate women who seek access to this procedure. It is not their right to make women guilty who - - -

MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry, are we discussing your motion or are we attacking somebody who is not in a position to defend themselves?

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, that has never bothered the Right to Life Association if they have wanted to attack anybody, so I would not feel too sorry for them.

MR SPEAKER: I am speaking about in this chamber. Please, you have a motion. You are concluding debate on it.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, there are others who might be described as having extreme views, but at the end of the day this comes down to whether or not women should have a choice and whether we, as legislators, should be able to listen to the views of the extremists, if that is the case, who might wish to come before an Assembly committee and make up their own views in relation to the technicalities which have been pointed to by various opinions, as I mentioned earlier.

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