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Decriminalisation of abortion in Tasmania

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 21 April 2013

Legislation permitting abortion this week passed the Tasmanian House of Assembly.  The new law removes abortion from the criminal code and allows abortion up to 16 weeks if the woman provides her consent, and after 16 weeks if two doctors say it is medically, psychologically or socio-economically justified.

Labor Attorney-General Brian Wightman was expected to oppose the bill on personal grounds, but voted in support, saying he could not in good conscience restrict a woman’s choice.

Opponents expressed concern over lack of due process in rushing the private member’s bill through parliament, and on matters of principle such as heavy fines for counsellors who do not disclose a conscientious objection to abortion, stiff penalties for peaceful protest outside abortion clinics, and the apparent intention to increase the gestation period where abortion was permitted beyond 16 weeks.

And there is the perennial question of why Tasmanians want to kill their young when viable alternatives such as adoption exist.

I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.

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