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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2996 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

pictures of foetuses from two weeks of conception to 40 weeks. That is just so appallingly insensitive to a fellow human being. That is the point that is being made. It lacks any semblance of compassion for that woman. It seems to me you think that women will take this in their stride or that it belittles women. That is not the point at all. It seems to me that you completely misunderstand the state that a woman presenting at, say, 10 or 12 weeks for an abortion would be in. Women do not just waltz into clinics, carefree and light-hearted.

Mr Humphries: Here is a man lecturing a woman about what women feel about viewing foetuses. Talk about insensitive, Mr Stanhope.

MR STANHOPE: Are you suggesting to me that the Chief Minister would waltz in carefree? Is that what you are suggesting, Mr Humphries?

Mr Humphries: No. I am suggesting that it is a bit much to be lecturing her about what women would feel in those circumstances.

MR STANHOPE: I am not lecturing anybody. I am just interested in your assessment of how the Chief Minister would feel. In my imagination a woman facing this incredibly difficult decision and time in her life would not be all that well placed to have to deal with being required to look at a series of pictures of foetuses in various stages of development. I think you misunderstand the point that we are trying to make. I think you misunderstand that this proposal is incredibly insensitive. It lacks compassion. It intrudes on the nature of the relationship between a woman and her doctor, and I think it is offensive.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (12.56 am): Mr Speaker, this gets to the nub of the matter. This gets to the question that all those who claim to be pro-choice or pro-abortion today have not answered. This afternoon I asked those who say they are pro-choice or pro-abortion to convince me that life begins at a point other than conception. I think the provision of photographs clearly shows that what is growing in the womb is a human life.

I make no bones about my position on this. I am against abortion. What we seek to ask women to consider is that when they make a decision it affects another life. There are two lives involved. Nobody in this place today has denied that there are two lives involved in this. This is the hub of the pro-choice, pro-abortion people's case. They simply choose to ignore this as a fact. This is a fact. It is a reality. This is nature itself and it cannot be denied.

Mr Speaker, they say this proposal is insensitive. I would suggest that when the New Zealand Department of Health put this pamphlet together - this is freely available for distribution to all New Zealand women - that was taken into account, and the way it is put together is, I think, a reasonable summary of the case. It is neither for nor against. It is not judgmental. It puts a whole picture. I asked the Chief Minister whether she sold books in her pharmacy. I used to sell a lot of books in bookshops that I have run.

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