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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2991 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Any suggestion that that sort of appalling process should be inflicted on women seeking abortion simply cannot be permitted to remain in this already extremely flawed legislation. The legislation is bad enough without reducing it to this level of total abhorrence. What word should I use?

Mr Berry: "Humiliation".

MR STANHOPE: That is the word I was searching for. It is absolutely humiliating to expect a woman seeking abortion to be subjected to that sort of treatment. How anybody here can countenance that sort of treatment of women is just beyond me.

I take the opportunity while I am on my feet to ask Mr Stefaniak and Mr Smyth whether or not, on the strength of these sorts of provisions and the discussion that we have had, they are prepared to repeat the assurances that they have given us throughout the day that this is just a Bill providing for the provision of appropriate information to women to allow them to make an informed choice. What utter nonsense your understanding of this legislation has been revealed to be!

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (12.35 am): Mr Speaker, I believe that this paragraph must stay. At the core of Mr Osborne's Bill is the provision of reasonable information. I find it strange that some would say that simple information that shows foetal development is offensive. Roe, a party in the case of Roe v. Wade, later said that it was not until she saw an anatomical chart that showed foetal development that she truly understood that what we are talking about is not the removal of a lump of cells but in fact the destruction of a human life. This sort of simple information, placed in front of a woman, would confirm the fact that the aborted foetus is a human being. This is fundamental. This is the core of Mr Osborne's Bill and it must remain.

That people would say that this information is grotesque I find very strange, simply because this is the beginning of life, this is growth, this is normal, this is natural and this is something that none of us should be afraid of. This is reality. I refer members to the brochure I distributed that the New Zealand Government put together. In it the New Zealand Government quite ably puts the options open to women. It canvasses pregnancy, it canvasses abortion and it canvasses the damage that can be done to women. At the same time it provides information on foetal development.

Mr Speaker, this provision must remain. I will vote against Mr Stanhope's amendment because it is inappropriate. This is the heart of Mr Osborne's Bill.

MR OSBORNE (12.37 am): Mr Speaker, this paragraph is crucial to the legislation, and I certainly will not be supporting Mr Stanhope's amendment. Mr Moore and I have attempted to find some common ground, but there are issues we just refuse to compromise on, and this is one of them. The pictures must stay. New Zealand does it. Most people have seen the information from New Zealand which was put together with the assistance of Family Planning. I find it interesting that people are afraid of pictures. That is what it boils down to.

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