Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Remove abortion from the Crimes Act


Thursday February 17, 2011 - Premier Kristina Keneally's refusal to remove abortion from the 19th century Crimes Act shows just how out of touch she and her party are. Keneally reportedly made that promise to a forum of Christian leaders at Parliament House on February 15.

Socialist Alliance candidates and women’s rights campaigners Pip Hinman (Marrickville) and Paola Harvey (Keira) described Keneally's position as 'cruel' and 'out of touch'.

'The Premier would know that women will continue to seek and receive abortions in NSW, regardless of the law. She would also know that wherever abortion remains illegal, women – in particular poorer, younger and otherwise disadvantaged women – suffer negative health consequences, physically and emotionally', said Ms Hinman.

'The fact that abortion remains on the Crimes Act means that anyone who has an abortion or assists a woman with one, can be jailed for up to 10 years.

'The possibility of imprisonment is ridiculous, but very real. Last year in Cairns, Queensland, where abortion is also still illegal, a women and her partner were charged with intent to procure an abortion because they purchased RU486 from overseas. They were eventually found not guilty - but only after having been put through a very traumatic experience.'

Ms Harvey said: 'The ALP has always told women that we should rely on a liberal interpretation of the law by the courts. But this is not enough, as the 2006 case with Dr Suman Sood showed. In a very complex case, Dr Sood was convicted for assisting an abortion.

'Opponents of women's right to choose abortion say that such a move would cause the number of abortions to skyrocket. Yet, the evidence from other states that have decriminised abortion doesn't support this.

'Women will continue to have abortions regardless of the law. They need to be safe and free from the possibility of prosecution.

'For at least a decade, surveys have repeatedly shown that the majorities in Australia support abortion rights.'

Ms Hinman said: 'Socialist Alliance campaigns for women's right to choose.

'The decision about whether or not to have an abortion has to be made by the woman concerned, in consultation with whomever she wishes," she said. "The state has no right to interfere,' she concluded.

For more information on Pip Hinman's campaign visit

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