Vote for Safe and Legal Abortion Care

 

An open letter in support of safe and legal access to abortion care

To every member of Queensland Parliament,

As organisations and services concerned with the health, safety, rights, and wellbeing of  Queenslanders, we strongly support the proposed new laws for safe and legal access to abortion care.

A woman knows what makes sense for her health, her body and her future. She should feel safe and in control of her life, and be free to decide whether to become a parent. All Queenslanders should be able to legally access the reproductive healthcare they need from doctors who are able to provide the best care possible – without fear of criminal charges.

Queensland’s current abortion laws are archaic, cruel and degrading. They increase the distress, delay and financial burden faced by Queenslanders who have made the decision to end a pregnancy. They also mean women in need are often turned away when seeking care at public hospitals.

These outdated laws disproportionately harm women living in rural and remote areas, who already have limited access to healthcare. They also disadvantage and hurt women affected by physical and sexual violence, and members of the community who already face barriers to accessing healthcare. Queenslanders shouldn’t have to drive hundreds of kilometres, or fly interstate, to access basic healthcare; and they should never be forced to turn to medically dangerous or clandestine alternatives to end a pregnancy. Reform is urgently needed.

We express our strong support for the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018, which will pave the way to a safe and compassionate reproductive healthcare system for all Queenslanders.

In particular, we affirm the importance of proposed provisions to ensure a health practitioner’s personal beliefs don’t interfere with their patient’s access to reproductive healthcare; and the creation of safe access zones to protect patients from harassment and intimidation as they enter clinics.

We also note the profoundly personal and complex circumstances in which Queenslanders may need abortion care later in their pregnancy. Given this, we strongly support the approach outlined in the Bill, which enables patients and medical professionals to jointly make decisions about their healthcare needs after 22 weeks in pregnancy. We consider this approach both medically appropriate and compassionate, given the distressing circumstances faced by a person who needs abortion care later in pregnancy.

We urge you to be on the right side of history and vote yes for the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 – for safe, legal and compassionate access to abortion care in Queensland.

Signed,

Amnesty International Australia

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

Australian Women’s Health Network

Brisbane Rape and Incest Survivors Support Centre

Cairns Doctors

Children By Choice

Domestic Violence Action Centre - Ipswich and Toowoomba

Fair Agenda

Greenslopes Day Surgery

Harrison’s Little Wings

Human Rights Law Centre

Humanist Society of Queensland

Logan Women’s Health & Wellbeing Centre Ltd

Marie Stopes

National Council of Single Mothers & their Children Inc.

National Foundation for Australian Women

Pride In Law

Pro Choice Cairns

Professor Caroline De Costa, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, James Cook University College of Medicine and Dentistry

Queensland Branch of the Australian Association of Social Workers

Queensland Teachers Union

Rationalist Society of Australia

Reproductive Choice Australia

Rockhampton Women’s Health Centre

Salisbury Day Hospital

Sexual Health Society of Qld

The Union of Australian Women (Qld)

True Relationships and Reproductive Health

Women’s Abortion Rights Campaign

Women’s Centre Cairns

Women’s Electoral Lobby Australia

Women’s Legal Service Queensland

Working Against Violence Support Services Inc

WWILD Sexual Violence Program

Young Queenslanders for the Right to Choose

Youth Affairs Network Queensland

YWCA Australia

ZigZag Young Women’s Resource Centre