Page 3813 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 27 August 2008

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MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: You said, Mr Pratt, that I must be blind. Please withdraw it.

Mr Pratt: Okay, I withdraw that particular component.


Mr Pratt: I withdraw the comment about you being blind.

MR BERRY: It is a matter of fact that the activities that the religious right get involved in are hard on women who are considering an abortion or who have had one.

Mr Assistant Speaker, paragraph (2) of your motion states:

reaffirms its support for the laws reformed including the de-criminalisation of abortion in the ACT.

Members of this crowd over here supported women being forced to look at pictures of foetuses before they had a termination of a pregnancy. That is what members of this crowd over here supported. They wanted women to be forced to look at photos of foetuses while they were making the decision about having a termination. That is the sort of creatures we are dealing with here.

They believe that women are not sensible enough to make the decision about an abortion without a cooling-off period. They wanted to force women to have a cooling-off period. A woman goes to a GP and says, “I want a termination.” The GP says, “Well, dear, you will have to go away and think about it for 72 hours,” or whatever it was. What an outrageous position for people to be supporting.

Then, of course, they wanted the decision as to whether they had a termination or not considered by a couple of doctors. Some of them wanted them to go before a panel. It is all about this position that they have that an abortion is a problem. As I have said repeatedly, it is the solution for many women. When you people come to that view we might be getting close to some progress.

This is an extremely important health issue for women in the ACT and across Australia. When I came to this place I was approached very early in the piece about 1,200 or so women being forced to go interstate for terminations, and sometimes up and back in the one day. One case that was reported to me was that of a young woman who went to Sydney and back on the same day on the back of a motorbike to have a termination in Sydney because she had been told that it was wrong and she did not want her parents to find out about it. This really is abuse. This is the sort of stuff that members of this crowd opposite supported for many years.

Let us not forget most of them opposed the decriminalisation of abortion. They find it hard to defend now. They say, “We would not recriminalise it.” But aside from changing the criminal law you can do a lot of other things to make it hard for women to get terminations. You can force them to look at foetuses like you did once before.

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