Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2585 ..

Ms Gallagher: For God's sake, Vicki!

MRS DUNNE: Katy, you can shake your head. You can brush it away, but these are the figures collected over a long period of time-not by me. I make no point about it.

Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker: I understand there is a standing order about comments which reflect adversely on a member. I think that last comment reflects adversely on my colleague. I seek that that comment be withdrawn.

MRS DUNNE: If I have reflected, I withdraw. But you cannot deny the statistics. They are not mine-I did not make them up. They did not come from some fruity pro-lifer like me, they came from a Scandinavian journal of obstetrics and gynaecology.

All we want to do is hide away the facts. What we want to do today is the simple thing-abolish the statistics and hope that the problem will go away. The real issue here today, in addition to hiding information from women, is that what Mr Berry and Ms Gallagher propose to do is take away the rights of doctors, nurses and institutions in the ACT to choose not to be involved in abortions.

Some members have said they will vote for Mr Berry's Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Repeal Bill because they can then go back and put in the watered-down conscientious objection provision that has been proposed by Ms Gallagher. As I said earlier today, Mr Deputy Speaker, that provision, especially if the amendments circulated by Ms Tucker come into effect, means that we here exercise our conscience so that the doctors, nurses and hospitals in this place who do not want to be involved in abortion will be unable to do so.

The worst thing we do today is for us to exercise our conscience so that someone else may not. This is a day of shame. This is the greatest shame of the day. If you do this, you have conscripted the consciences of other people while you get to exercise your own.

MS GALLAGHER (6.18): Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to speak in support of Mr Berry's bill, but not to speak on my bill. I believe that women have the right to make choices about their own health. I believe that women have the right to determine if and when they want children, and how many. I believe that women have the right to decide in what circumstances they find it acceptable to have a child and what circumstances they do not. I believe that the Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Act should be repealed.

I find it interesting that both parties have declared this issue as necessitating a conscience vote. It is such an important issue on which we all hold strong and personal views, yet when a woman comes to make this choice for herself, the Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Act undermines her right to the same privilege-the privilege of consulting her conscience on an issue that is deeply important and personal to her.

Mrs Dunne: Wrong! Not true!

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .