Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Choice Is No Crime: an important message.

My choice is no crime

It's hard to believe this is happening in Australia. This week, a young couple from Cairns goes on criminal trial for attempting to have an abortion.

Teagan was just 19 years old when she was charged under archaic, 111-year-old laws that classify abortion as a criminal “offence against morality” in the same league as bestiality and incest. They have lain dormant for over a century — until now. If found guilty, she faces up to 7 years imprisonment, and her parter Sergie, 22, could spend 3 years in jail for assisting her.

How can this happen in Australia? Because in Queensland, and in other states, abortion is still illegal in the criminal code. And despite the fact that 90% of Australians believe early-term abortions should be legal, an extreme minority has our politicians scared into inaction.

An anti-choice organisation has organised a petition in defence of these archaic laws, with over 6,000 signatures. The opposing petition, calling for the laws to be scrapped, has less then 3,000. Help fix that right now, so that no politician has an excuse for inaction:

As a result of this case, public hospitals in Queensland have started refusing abortions — even to women whose pregnancy is due to sexual assault. Doctors fear criminal prosecution and up to 14 years imprisonment for providing advice and treatment, leaving young couples in impossible situations.

How on earth could this happen in Australia? The Queensland Parliament has failed to act, because MPs have been flooded with phone calls and emails in support of these archaic laws. Some extreme anti-choice activists have even thrown flaming molotov cocktails at Teagan and Sergie's house. We can't stand for this in Australia.

Please add your name to the national petition for choice today, and forward it to friends and family:

Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, said she would support a bill to repeal the laws — but won't introduce one herself. She says there isn't enough support — and her colleagues in Parliament have been silent so far.

We can't let politicians hide behind a thin facade of opposition put up by extreme anti-choice activists. As a national movement of 380,000 strong, let's remove their excuse today with a huge national petition to repeal these archaic laws. Please add your name and forward this to friends before the petition is printed in huge newspaper ads later this week.

Text and image courtesy GetUp!. My own commentary to follow on Thursday.


  1. What about the child's rights? For the vast majority i say this - If you're not willing to have a child (or contract STI/STD), don't have sex. There is no such thing as safe sex, if you take the risk, take the consequence. To those who have a child after sexual assault - my heart goes out to you, and I cannot even begin to comprehend what you are going through. But to snuff out a human life.. surely there are other choices..

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  3. What child? It is not a child, it is not an infant, it isn’t even a fœtus at this stage. It has the potential to become a child, if given very specific conditions — but so does an unfertilised ovum. Is menstruation also murder? Is every sperm sacred?

    Children have rights, by virtue of being independent persons. Embryos do not, because they are not.

    I refer you to my post on the Parent Licence. If a child is not going to be adequately cared for, it is irresponsible to bring it into existence.

  4. Hi Anonymous.
    Quite frankly, I find it offensive that you would argue for a "child's rights" when the "child" in question is a fertilised egg inside the body of a young woman who is not ready for motherhood. You're talking in hypotheticals about a person who has never existed and, in an ideal world without recreational sex, would not even have the possibility of existing.

    Teagan has a life. She's been living 19 years. She isn't ready for motherhood but she has hopes, dreams, loves and goals.

    Your "child" is a hypothetical cluster of cells which might (depending on its stage of development) in some ways resemble a human infant, but has never lived, has never loved, and has nothing at all to lose.

    Please respect that which is, over and above that which isn't and shouldn't be.

  5. Anonymous, if you don't want an abortion, don't have one.

    But remember that "life" is a medical term (subject to medical definition) and that abortion should be, as far as the law is concerned, is a medical issue and not a moral one. The decision should be made by the woman, in accordance with her own morals, and with guidance from her doctor.