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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2990 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

The amendments also remove the specifics and put the matter into the hands of the profession. My only word of caution on that is that we need to be careful that the panel considering it does not consist only of medical specialists, who in my experience tend to bring only a certain view to matters and often do not express it in written language that ordinary people can understand. Certainly it is often not written in such a form as to be useful to the people we are trying to protect. Those people who are intelligent enough and educated enough to read a lot of this information are not necessarily the ones we are trying to assist, although I would not say that we are not trying to assist them. I think it is reasonable to suggest that a lot of the women who are marginalised by the current processes are the ones who will benefit by a better approach.

Given the extent to which gender bias is loaded towards males, I have foreshadowed an amendment to try to redress that. So long as we have on the advisory panel the same balance as is evidenced in Mr Moore's amendments, I am very happy to go along with the amendments.

MR QUINLAN (12.29 am): Mr Speaker, given the stage that we have reached with this legislation, generally one can accept this particular clause. However, I do have objections to paragraph (d) as proposed by the first amendment. Those objections relate back to the original debate, when I talked about the guilt trip that is involved in confronting and graphic information. Instead of information about the welfare of the woman, the welfare of the foetus and the probable consequences of abortion, we are now talking about the provision of quite graphic and confronting drawings or pictures which I do not think would necessarily assist the woman involved in being any more informed but which might well be seen as a deterrent - if I could think of a better word, I would use it - to abortion. I think that we ought to reconsider such a provision in the legislation.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (12.30 am): I support the comments which my colleague Mr Quinlan has just made and I move the following amendment to Mr Moore's amendment No. 11:

Proposed new paragraph 7(1)(d), omit the proposed paragraph.

Mr Moore: That would affect the new subclause 15(4) I propose to insert, because the two are interrelated.

MR STANHOPE: That is correct. Quite honestly, I find the proposal that women seeking an abortion be required to peruse documentation relating to the development of a foetus at two-weekly intervals completely unacceptable. The suggestion that a woman presenting for an abortion should, as part of the process of approval, be required to look at pictures, drawings or photographs of a foetus at intervals of two weeks through its development from conception to birth I find grotesque.

For the legislation to demand that before any approval process can be advanced a woman facing a decision on whether or not to undergo an abortion be forced to sit down and look at drawings, photographs or pictures of foetuses at two-weekly intervals is just abhorrent.

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