Why sex-selective abortion would be legal in Qld if the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 is passed

If the Trad-Labor Bill is passed, abortion would be on request, no questions asked, up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Part 2 Section 5 of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 states: “A medical practitioner may perform a termination on a woman who is not more than 22 weeks pregnant.”  

Removal of any restrictions on abortion in the first 22 weeks of pregnancy, means abortion will be legal for sex selection.

Abortion on request is just that – no reason has to be given.

Abortion for sex selection is not legal under the current law, as interpreted by the courts, because this is not a situation where there is a serious danger to a woman’s physical or mental health.

One of the terrible consequences of legalising abortion on request to 22 weeks gestation is it would be legal to abort a female baby, just for being a girl.

The sex of a child is usually discovered at the 16 to 20 week scan, but can also be detected from 10 weeks of pregnancy by a blood test.

Part 2 Section 6 of the Bill specifies that abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy is allowed if a doctor considers that it should be performed under a broad range of criteria including “the woman’s current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances”, and a second doctor agrees.

The key point is that word “social” is ambiguous and would include in its scope sex-selective abortion, as sex selection is a social reason. This practice fits under no other description.

Although in practice sex-selective abortion almost always would be prior to 22 weeks gestation because the sex can be determined well before then, it could be very accessible past 22 weeks too because of the loose criteria for obtaining a late-term abortion and the lack of rigorous governance around the approval process.

The provision for a second doctor’s approval under Section 6 is questionable, as the second doctor is not required to see the woman or her file. The second approval can be obtained by a phone call or email. The first doctor can be an abortionist and the second doctor can also be an abortionist.  

And if the first doctor does not bother to get a second opinion, the Bill has no legal penalty. A law without a penalty is no law at all.

Globally, sex-selective abortion and infanticide of female babies is at catastrophic levels, with UN estimates of more than 100 million girls missing around the world.

There is evidence that sex-selective abortions do occur in Australia, provided by a demographic study using ABS data from 2003 to 2013 showing “1,395 missing girls”, which was reported by SBS and Daily Mail Australia in 2015. Also, on 12 August 2018 The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age carried a story titled “The ‘missing girls’ never born in Australia”.

It is worth noting that Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 is almost a mirror image of the Victorian abortion law passed in 2008 (see comparison on the next page), which allows sex-selective abortion and even compels doctors to refer these cases to an abortionist under threat of deregistration.

In 2013, Dr Mark Hobart, a Melbourne GP, faced disciplinary action for refusing to refer a couple with a 19 week unborn baby girl for a sex-selective abortion in Victoria.

Those who state that sex-selective abortion would not be legal in Queensland under the Trad-Labor abortion Bill are either naïve or untruthful.

Recent YouGov Galaxy polling shows that only 8% of Queenslanders, including 5% of women, support sex-selective abortions, with 83% of voters opposed.

Abortion is already very accessible in Queensland under the current law with an estimated 14,000 terminations each year provided by 23 clinics, so there is no need to take abortion out of the Criminal Code.

However, abortion remaining in the Criminal Code will mean that sex-selective abortion does remain illegal in Queensland.

CONTACT: Teeshan Johnson, executive director -   OR Alan Baker, vice-president.







LABOR’S LATE-TERM ABORTION BILL: WORSE THAN THE PYNE BILLS

COMPARISON TABLE: Labor’s late-term abortion Bill, Pyne Bills, Victoria’s abortion laws

Queensland Labor Government’s: Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018

Pyne Bills 2016 - Abortion Law Reform (Woman’s Right to Choose) Amendment Bill 2016   & Health (Abortion Law Reform) Amendment Bill 2016 – moved by Independent MP Mr Rob Pyne in 2016 and withdrawn in February 2017 because it was evident that they would have been defeated if put to a vote in the Queensland Parliament

Victorian abortion law: Victoria’s Abortion Law Reform Act 2008

Abortion for any reason up to 22 weeks gestation

Abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks gestation

Abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks gestation

Sex-selective abortion legal

Sex-selective abortion legal

Sex-selective abortion legal

Abortion from 22 weeks until birth, for a wide range of loose criteria including “social” reasons. Two doctors give the approval. The first doctor can be the abortionist and the second doctor (who can also be an abortionist) doesn’t have to see the woman or even read her file. No legal penalties on doctors if rules not followed.

Abortion from 24 weeks until birth, if there is a “risk… to the physical or mental health of the woman”.  Two doctors give the approval. The first doctor can be the abortionist and the second doctor (who can also be an abortionist) doesn’t have to see the woman or even read her file. No legal penalties on doctors if rules not followed.

Abortion from 24 weeks until birth, for a wide range of loose criteria including “social” reasons. Two doctors give the approval. The first doctor can be the abortionist and the second doctor (who can also be an abortionist) doesn’t have to see the woman or even read her file. No legal penalties on doctors if rules not followed.

Doctors with conscientious objection must refer for abortion, or to another doctor who will help the woman with her abortion request, and therefore be complicit in the outcome of an abortion.

Full conscientious objection provision for doctors and nurses.

Doctors with conscientious objection must refer for abortion, or to another doctor who will help the woman with her abortion request, and therefore be complicit in the outcome of an abortion.

Abortions to be performed at taxpayer-funded public hospitals and therefore free.

Abortions to be performed at taxpayer-funded public hospitals and therefore free.

Abortions to be performed at taxpayer-funded public hospitals and therefore free.

No protections for women considering an abortion – no independent counselling, informed consent conditions or cooling-off periods.

No protections for women considering an abortion – no independent counselling, informed consent conditions or cooling-off periods.

No protections for women considering an abortion – no independent counselling, informed consent conditions or cooling-off periods

150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.

50 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.

150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.