Why Rob Pyne’s abortion bill makes sense

News websites and social media feeds have been flooded this week with stories about a shocking and upsetting new bill to be tabled in parliament. This very website has even covered it.

People are riled up. Really riled up. Because so far, reporters have narrowed in on the fact that bill could allow abortions at up to 9 months gestation.

I can understand why this is upsetting people – I think everyone, even the most pro of pro choice, can agree that the arrival of a foetus at 9 months in not a termination, it’s a birth.


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But those who are getting their knickers in a knot over this story may actually be getting things twisted.

Because when you strip back the hype and controversy, here’s the real crux of the matter: In Queensland right now, it is 100% illegal to have an abortion.

They are available. But they are illegal.

This new bill, introduced by Independent MP Rob Pyne, aims to decriminalise abortions so that women who don’t want to keep their pregnancy can end it safely – and without facing possible arrest.

It is not an attempt to have abortions legalised up until 9 months gestation. Pyne himself has clarified that the bill would only ensure abortion was no longer a crime in Queensland, and did not address the issue of late-term abortions.

“I have not moved any clause or made any suggestion in relation to gestation periods, whether it be 24 weeks, 20 weeks or whatever,” he said.

It’s his goal to avoid scenarios such as the one that developed last month, when a 12-year-old Rockhampton girl had to get permission from the Queensland Supreme Court to have an abortion.

She had fallen pregnant to another child of a similar age and had spent a month speaking with a GP, a social worker, two specialist obstetricians and a psychiatrist.

For a full month, this child was pregnant when she didn’t want to be. At 12 years old she was never going to be ready or able to take the pregnancy to term. Clear access to an abortion earlier on could have saved her untold mental health issues.

The fact of the matter is that abortions are going to happen; failing to have legal access to them isn’t going to reduce the number of abortions in Queensland. It’s just going to force women and young girls into unsafe practices.

When you view it under this lense, Pyne’s new bill makes a lot of sense.

The Meddler

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