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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2598 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

What concerns me is that the process that was debated at the last debate in this place was about imposing another guilt trip. A lot of statistics have been rolled out about the scarring that having an abortion might have on a woman's psyche. I would conjecture-and I am certainly not an expert-that a lot of that has to do with the fundamental guilt trip.

An incident having occurred in the gallery-

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order in the gallery!

MR QUINLAN: I believe in a woman's right of choice. Somehow we in this place have been able to contrive to compare that choice with the purchase of a vacuum cleaner. It was at that point I decided that I wanted to say a few more words. That is an appalling analogy. We are talking about the imposition of guilt. The whole tenor of the previous legislation that was presented and, in part, passed in this place was to impose guilt. Now I am hearing today that we not only want to impose guilt but we want to take away a woman's right of choice for her own good.

If you wish to say that abortion is a bad thing because it is against your fundamental beliefs, I respect that. But to interweave selective statistics and virtually say, "And I am also doing it for a woman's own good" is heading towards the hypocritical.

I will be supporting this bill, because I see that we need a woman's right of choice and a genuine right of choice. We heard statistics about the decline in the mental wellbeing of women who have an abortion. But two things concern me: the imposition of guilt and the high probability that a large number of women who find themselves pregnant but are not in the circumstances to carry the child full term to have other issues in their lives. I do not want to be a party to a process that compounds those issues in their lives.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (8.51): Mr Deputy Speaker, I think both Mr Quinlan and Mr Stanhope have made some very pertinent points. I want to reinforce my support for their comments-in particular the comments that the legislation currently in force has an element of compulsion which we do not require of any other medical procedure in the territory. I know that some will argue that this is not simply a medical procedure. Nevertheless, it is a form of compulsion in relation to the provision of information that we do not require of any other discussion and passage of information and advice between a doctor and that doctor's patient. We do not require it.

And why should we require it here? Why is this particular procedure any different from any other procedure with potentially serious or potentially life-threatening consequences? Why is it any different? Why do we not require and specify in legislation that particular sorts of information be made available for someone who is facing an operation where their life is potentially at risk? Why do we not require it there?

If the argument is that this is about a procedure which affects the life of an unborn child-that's the argument that comes from those who favour the retention of this legislation-then why do we not equally require a similar form of mandated information for other procedures that potentially threaten the life of someone who has been born? There is an inconsistency in that argument. And, for me, the only difference is that

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