Saturday, July 10, 2010


Most, if not all, of you will be aware that there is a young lady facing charges in Cairns courts for procuring her own abortion. Since charges were laid there has been a great deal of debate locally and statewide about the issue. It was a great suprise to many to discover that abortion is illegal in Queensland and all abortions performed are done so without the protection of the law.

Last night I attended the launch of Caroline De Costa's new book titled 'Never, Ever Again' at the Cairns Base Hospital. The launch featured a prominant activist on the issue who managed, after 4 years of constant lobbying, and with the help of many, to remove abortion from all sections of law in Victoria. This makes it not only legal but also gives the procedure the same standing as any other medical procedure performed in any hospital.

There were several members of various political sectors there along with many concerned members of the general public and discussion following the launch was much the same. It centered on 'why' it should prove so difficult to remove this law in Queensland and the arguments for and against.

My personal opinion on the issue is........irrelevant. So is yours. Abortion should not be a decision made by the population as a whole, it should be a decision made by the woman involved and a doctor. It is not up to me, or you, to decide for them. If I choose not to have an abortion, I simply won't. If I choose to undertake the procedure, I should be entitled to decide for myself, and should be protected by the law whatever decision I make.

Making abortion legal will not make it become a form of birth control as some would have us believe. However 'easy' it becomes (whether taking a simple tablet or booking yourself into a day clinic) it is never going to be an easy decision to make. It is a tough choice and the mental and physical implications must be acknowledged. In making it legal, abortion can be talked about openly and information would be readily available. This education will give women more facts, therefore making any decision they make an informed choice.

We all, men and women, need to lobby our state members (nag, argue, write letters, hold up a sign) until they understand that not only is it not my right to decide for others, it is most definately not their's either.

According to the whispers, the young woman to be back in court shortly to face the charges against her and her boyfriend will be pleading guilty. She has possibly decided that despite being the only woman on record in Queensland charged under the abortion laws, she is tiring of the fight. I am tired of all the arguing. Just change the law. Then let the arguing occur wherever people see fit to discuss the issue for debate is a valuable tool.


  1. Well said Leigh!

  2. Leigh, you said it all and most succinctly. Thank you for voicing the concerns of many women across Australia.

    For the first time in a long time Queensland is in a position, with a female Premier who climbed the political ladder on the back of women's issues, to set about the decriminalision of abortion, thoughtfully and carefully. It is possible, we have the example of Victoria.

  3. A very comprehensive summation of the entire tragic case Leigh. These concerns are not only those of women, but also of their partners, fathers, brothers, friends. We must be even more persistent: the familiar bleat that any action in Parliament might 'only make it worse' are fatuous red herrings for 'do nothing'. By taking the criminal code as her default position, the Premier cannot continue to profess that 'it's a matter etc etc ad nauseum........'. All MPs in Queensland are delinquent in their responsibility to their female constituents. I urge everyone to do something

  4. While I acknowledge that for many women it IS a tough choice, it's certainly the case that for many of us the decision was not 'tough' at all, it was simple, easy, uncomplicated. Please don't assume it's always 'tough' - when I chose to terminate an unwanted, unplanned pregnancy in 1977 I had to travel to Sydney from Brisbane (it was just months before the Greenslopes opened)and I felt annoyed that I had to go to another state for a procedure that is probably the most common gynaecological procedure we know. I had no difficulty making my decision. I've since become a mother by choice, both decisions, at different times in my life, were life-affirming.

  5. It is true that the decision is a logical one for some and perhaps the only tough part is in finding out how, where and if you will be breaking the law!! For most I believe it is a tough choice, until you visit the doctor and have all of the information regarding safety, cost and details of the procedure at least, after that, it's sometimes simple, sometimes hard.

    I acknowledge that I should not have stated that this was always a tough choice and apologise for any bias that may be construed from this.

  6. We agree on so much Leigh, but on this one I'll keep my comments to myself. I'm just glad I'm not the judge, because THAT would be the tough decision for me.