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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2577 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

It is not a choice if the only solution advanced by the community is abortion.

I will repeat that, Mr Deputy Speaker:

It is not a choice if the only solution advanced by the community is abortion.

I was surprised today, on the issue of wisdom-who has the wisdom, and who exercises wisdom in respect of this issue-to hear a comment from Ms Tucker regarding the wisdom of making life and death decisions about pregnancy.

She seemed to put herself in Jesus' sandals with respect to his alleged view on the matter of choice. I would not dare, or pretend, to put myself into the mindset of Jesus. However, from my understanding of their teachings I reckon that Jesus, Mohammed, the esteemed Buddha, and the Hindu gods et al, would say, "Hey listen! Do not trifle with life. Respect life-respect the sanctity of life. In these cases, seek and exercise wisdom and wise counsel." That is what I think those leaders, in the development of a philosophy, would have said.

Furthermore, the act, as it stands, protects the rights of others to choose whether or not they wish to be part of an abortion process. The act provides for the right of persons and bodies to refuse to participate in abortions.

Mr Deputy Speaker, this is a critical issue. It is important that we have an act that allows medical practitioners, institutions and professionals to make a choice about whether they should or should not be involved.

To best illustrate the dilemma which would evolve if this protection were withdrawn, I want to quote from a letter I have received from concerned doctors. The doctors say:

As ACT Medical Practitioners we urge you to vote against Mr. Wayne Berry's bills relating to abortion. We object to a number of aspects and implications of these bills including:

There are three key issues. Firstly, they talk about the removal of the requirement for women to be provided with objective information regarding abortion-"the decision about which has such obvious major medical and ethical implications".

Secondly, they go on to say they are concerned about the removal of legal protection for the unborn child up to the time of birth. "The spectre of late-term abortions would become a real and horrible possibility for the nation's capital."

Thirdly, they talk about the loss of legal requirement for full statistical records to be kept and provided to the Health Minister. There is a clinic of some 25 doctors who have signed this letter, representing a wide cross-section of the community. These doctors go on to say:

Current pro abortion lobbying appears to focus upon emotive arguments around backyard abortions, and assertions that a 72 hour cooling off period implies that women are being patronized and are somehow unable to make mature decisions

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