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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2567 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

ask more questions, talk to others, think about the matter, etc.

Advise the patient that he or she can get another medical opinion, and assist the patient to seek it if it is requested.

Ensure that the patient understands:

- the diagnosis ...

- the prognosis ...

- the anticipated effects of not undergoing the proposed treatment;

- the nature of the intervention ...

There is a comprehensive list of protections for people undergoing any medical procedure, and they would apply to an abortion procedure. I think the archbishop understates the effectiveness of the information contained in that publication.

Somebody mentioned the dangers associated with abortion. I think Mr Smyth did, and probably Mrs Dunne did. For your information, I refer to a document from the Australian Capital Territory government "Considering an abortion". On page 8, under the heading "What are the possible longer term complications?" it goes on about some of the issues associated with abortion, as it should. (Extension of time granted.)

But the last paragraph says that there are also complications associated with making a decision to continue with a pregnancy. In fact, the risk of complications in pregnancy is higher than the risk for a termination under medical supervision. These are facts that have to be on the table when we are talking about this issue. They cannot be ignored.

This is a debate about whether women ought to be degraded by the threat of an impact of the criminal code. Those who oppose the legislation which I have put before this place have done little to settle my nerves about the continuance of this backward-looking legislation.

Many of the people who say they are anti-abortion have put strong arguments which would justify the retention of those provisions. In fact, it could be said that there is nothing inconsistent with being anti-abortion and removing those criminal provisions from the Crimes Act. I am not pro-abortion but I certainly am pro-choice, and I think it is about time that this Assembly faced up to its responsibilities as a reflection of the views of the community in the ACT on these issues.

Right-minded people do not think there ought to be mention in the criminal code of punishments on the issue of abortion. Right-minded people think that there ought to be more assistance for people to ensure that unwanted pregnancies do not occur. But there is no magical solution for that. Some of the opponents of the legislation I have proposed would say that there should be no acts of sex unless they are related to the production of a child.

Mrs Dunne: There is not one person in this place, Mr Berry, who thinks that.

MR BERRY: There are some who have been approaching me.

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