Monday 27 September 2010

Cairns Central shopping centre attacked by abortion mob

"If you feel woman have the right to decide for themselves, people need to speak out," Peter Lambert of Pro Choice Cairns says.

Over the weekend, a number of supporters protesting against the case soon to go before the Cairns Court, made a FlashMob appearance at Cairns Central Shopping Centre, above the main entrance.

Around 20 participants took part, and at least one member of the public challenged a Pro Choice member and ran off in a huff.

"We all moved along and left before security asked us to leave," Peter Lambert said. "None the less security, made a few smart-arse comments and for some reason rang the police."

The 'mob" unveiled a large "Drop the charges, Repeal abortion laws now" sign over the first floor handrail.

"Abortion is a health issue, remove it from the criminal code," Peter Lambert of Pro Choice Cairns says. "It was a peaceful and successful event and we where happy with the action."

"Procuring an abortion caries charges under Section 225 of the Criminal Code - with the possibility of seven years imprisonment. Back in the 80's, a High Court decision said you can have an abortion if you have mental health reasons with yourself or a deformed baby," Lambert says. "And that is the only reason why we have the 14,000 abortions a year in Queensland. At the moment all these women go their in extreme depression, post-natal depression, saying 'I'm crazy, I'm going to jump off a cliff if I have a baby'. Well this is just not on."

Lambert says that in 1986 it was a Queensland legal decision - R v Bayliss & Cullen (1986) McGuire J (District Court) - or more commonly referred to as the McGuire judgement that liberalised the interpretation of the crimes act for Doctors performing abortions. The Queensland ruling was based on an earlier Victorian ruling - the Menhennit decision.

Pro Choice Cairns have three positions.
  • Drop the charges against the Cairns woman and her partner who are charged under sections 225 and 226 of the QLD Criminal Code;

  • Repeal sections 224,225, and 226 of the Criminal Code to ensure that termination of pregnancy is no longer subject to criminal law;

  • Support funding for abortion services through the public health system, with full Medicare coverage for terminations.
Termination of pregnancy remains a criminal offense in Queensland. Under the current legislation, women are at risk of criminal prosecution for accessing a safe medical procedure. Health professionals also remain at risk of prosecution for providing safe abortion services to women.

Queensland law on this matter is increasingly out of step with other Australian states and territories. In 2002, the ACT Legislative Assembly removed abortion from the Crimes Act. In 2008, the Victorian government also removed abortion from the Crimes Act. The majority of public opinion in Queensland has consistently supported the de-criminalisation of abortion.

A former Council candidate and James Cook University Student president, Janine Aitken, says regardless of peoples view on the issue, the fact is that the young Cairns couple were clearly charged incorrectly.

"The more appropriate charges would have been under the drugs misuse act for having a drug without a legal prescription and also possible importing a drug into the country," Janine Aitken says. "Not to mention that the issue no one is addressing, is that this girl didn't know she could get the same pill here in Australia even though the charge is ridiculous, only $400, or she could have got a surgical abortion on medical grounds - mental capacity - for free."

"This is a massive failure on Queensland Health not addressing unwanted pregnancy, the fact this girl had the drug imported, goes to show how uninformed not only her but her whole circle were in the services that are available."

The case will return to Cairns District Court for a three-day trial starting on October 12th.


Leigh Dall'Osto said...

A touchy subject that need not be debated in a public forum if the Qld Government would just act sensibly and remove the word Abortion from all criminal codes.

It's archaic that it is still illegal and it is ridiculous that it is being ignored as a real problem for women in this state. The protesters are absolutely correct in their assertion that making Abortion legal would also open the way for much more information to be accessible to those who are considering their options.

Information and education are the keys to ensuring women are as safe as possible and with the current laws, there are no guarantees of this.

It should be a decision between doctor and patient only, and our personal opinions on the issue are irrelevant, as are those of the politicians.

Alison Alloway said...

I agree Leigh. Unfortunately, even though Cairns Womens Network, and Choice Queensland have publicised this legal case and its ramifications, I find many young women completely oblivious of the legislation regarding terminations in Queensland. And I mean completely oblivious! Should Tegan Leach be found guilty and sentenced, then we can expect many other women, their partners, medical professionals etc to also eventually follow.

Bryan Law said...

My heart-felt congratulations to Pro Choice cairns for this action. And for their on-going commitment to the issue. I for one will support their vigil during the court-case, and any other action they take?

Where are the local Labor members on this?

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

The local Labor members are where they always are - Doing Nothing, kicking back, hob-nobbing & noshing down in Briso, sending out a PR email once every three months or so, or perhaps just starting at their bit of rainforest with a drink in hand.

More realistically, if Ms. Bligh is so worried about putting this up before Parliament, she needs to open this up for a referendum for the people of Qld. I am sure you would find the majority in favour of safe abortion. Although Bligh made part of her name in early days as a pro-choice feminist, in her current Head Pollie incarnation, she has disappeared under the radar on this issue, no doubt to assuage the moral stance of the anti-abortion Christian voters. Weak, Anna, weak - but why am I bothering to point out what we all know?

Abortion has existed in all societies from time immemorial, & as such, women will fall pregnant, and at times when it's not a good idea to be thinking of another young one. I am sure that 99% of women approach abortions with some degree of sadness, regret, or just downright desperation. However, they do and will seek terminations, whether they be drug- or surgically-induced. Let them then be the safest, & least invasive on their reproductive systems as possible.

It is ludicrous that in 2010 a young woman & her partner are faced with such an antediluvian piece of legislation to end up in Court. Ludicrous.

What the Christian anti-abortion crew need to remember, is that we are all very happy for them to reproduce when and where they will, and to avoid abortion.

There is however, a sizeable part of the population who will need to access safe abortion, and if this is not available, in desperation, unsafe practices. So the Christian mob should just butt out, and leave the administration of one's uterus, to the individual.

Samantha Aungle said...

What an odd thing. In Sydney, where I was born and raised, it is legal to gain access to an abortion for any reason, pretty much. You can be a mother who is overburdened with children, a single woman who got pregnant from a one night stand, a raped woman, a woman who just doesn't want a baby for financial reasons-it's not practical..all these reasons and more apply to the women of Cairns especially with it being such a well known area for rape. And to every other area in QLD. Every other women who does not want the baby.

It's her choice, give more support services post abortion, such as effective counselling and therapy, physical health checks to ensure the operation went smoothly..and you will have legally and medically aborted women with less side effect producing medications on their night tables!

The typical and current answer is a few antipsychotics for a whole range of spiritual and emotional issues connected to not birthing a child, especially with those who wanted the baby but it was a health complication. These often produce side effects and the drowsy lacklustre life of unemployment, being on government benefits and having points in their lives on pause instead of attended to.


nomooremike said...

"all these reasons and more apply to the women of Cairns especially with it being such a well known area for rape."

Cairns is a well known area for rape?

Since when?

nomooremike said...

"all these reasons and more apply to the women of Cairns especially with it being such a well known area for rape."

Why am I not allowed to comment on this assertion? Did I not swear and cuss enough? Are Sydneysiders now allowed to cast aspersions on Cairns without riposte?