For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 22 Sep 2013.
Members of the NSW Legislative Assembly will next week debate a bill introduced by Member for The Entrance, Chris Spence, to amend the Crimes Act to allow criminal liability for the death of a foetus at least 20 weeks old.
The bill, known as Zoe’s law, was prompted after a baby was delivered stillborn when her mother was struck by a car in Mr Spence’s electorate in 2009. Under current law, the destruction of an unborn child constitutes grievous bodily harm to the mother only and does not recognise the unborn child in its own right.
Legal and medical experts have expressed concern that the bill might limit women’s access to late-term abortions, while others have questioned giving personhood to a foetus. But this is a case of the law catching up with informed public sentiment, and politicians should support the bill. A conscience vote is expected on Thursday.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.