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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2616 ..

Question put:

That Mrs Dunne's amendment No 1 be agreed to.

The Assembly voted-

Ayes 6 Noes 11

Mr Cornwell Mr Berry Ms MacDonald

Mrs Dunne Mr Corbell Mr Quinlan

Mr Humphries Mrs Cross Mr Stanhope

Mr Pratt Ms Dundas Ms Tucker

Mr Smyth Ms Gallagher Mr Wood

Mr Stefaniak Mr Hargreaves

Question so resolved in the negative.

Amendment negatived.

MS TUCKER (10.08): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 5 at page 2635].

The intent of my amendment is to establish the principle that a person seeking lawful treatment should not be obstructed from accessing information about that treatment because a particular medical practitioner is exercising the right to freedom of religion regarding the procedures he or she would carry out.

I do not believe that a doctor's freedom of religion and conscience in this situation should be given greater priority than the freedom of religion and conscience of the woman who is seeking a legally available service. For that reason it is important that the doctor does actually assist the woman to find another practitioner who will actually support her right to exercise her freedom of conscience and belief. I think that is all I need to say, as we have already had the discussion.

MS MacDONALD (10.10): I have looked at this amendment and I have actually wrestled with this one. I have to say that I will be voting against this particular amendment and the reasons are as follows. I have great concerns with parts a and b. I really do not believe that you can call on somebody who does not believe in the practice of abortion to give information about abortion when it goes against their conscience. You will be asking them to do what goes against the grain.

I believe that a doctor should say something along the lines of, "I personally do not believe in abortion. I do not approve of abortion and I think you should go to another medical practitioner." However, to actually require a medical practitioner to tell the woman about the lawful performance of an abortion and where this can be carried out would be alien to that person.

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