Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2547 ..
Mrs Dunne (continuing):
If Mr Berry's first bill, the bill we are currently debating which deals with the definition of abortion, and Mr Berry's second bill, which deals with the repeal of the Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Act, succeed, we will come to the third bill on the notice paper for today, which is Ms Gallagher's bill. We will come to Ms Gallagher's bill only if the first two bills succeed and we succeed in repealing various things. In doing that, we would repeal the definition of abortion, saying that an abortion can be performed only by a medical practitioner in approved facilities and there are no obligations for people to do certain things. Those things already would have been removed from the maternal health act as it currently exists if Mr Berry's first and second bills succeed.
I seek your ruling, Mr Deputy Speaker, and I want to give you time to think about it. If it is the case that Mr Berry's first and second bills succeed, would Ms Gallagher's bill become out of order because she is seeking to reinstate something that we have just removed? It is a slightly esoteric and complex problem, but some people may wish to support one or other of the first two bills because the third bill does something else and it may be that that would be out of order and we may not be able to vote on it. I seek your ruling on that at your leisure.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, Mrs Dunne. We will get back to you on that before the end of the matter.
MS DUNDAS (3.43): I would like to start with a quote from a young woman called Sarah:
I often hear people say, "In a perfect world there would be no abortions." But in my perfect world, the world I am hoping to help create, I do not toss out abortion so hastily. We need a safe world for women, one in which we control our bodies, our sexuality, our reproduction. And if abortion is part of a woman's quest, I would have the experience be painless, nurturing, free, safe, and without stigma. In my perfect world, each moment of our lives will be ones that encourage us to love our bodies and celebrate our power.
I believe that that quote embodies the debate that we are having today. It is one that I wholeheartedly agree with.
I know that I am lucky. I was born into a society where it was never questioned that I, as a woman, would go to school, that I would be able to live independently and own property without being married, that I would be able to determine my own future. It is within these freedoms that I declare myself a feminist.
Over the last 100 years, women have struggled for more economic security and a quality of life. We have struggled for recognition as valid human persons, for the right to determine the course of our own lives, for genuine respect and all that that brings with it. Against the blind inertia of a systemic oppression, women have had to construct their own positive view of what it means to be a woman, and then to change hearts and minds-and we are still doing it.
One of the battles we continue to fight is for the right of self-determination over our bodies. We have laws that say that it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender, that women should be paid equal to men for work of equal value, and that sexual harassment