The Australian Family Association today launched its latest research finding public opinion about abortion is not as clear cut as previously thought.
With last week’s Cairns abortion trial finished and its defendants acquitted, Queensland’s century old abortion laws are now under more scrutiny than ever before.
Kathleen Calderwood reports.
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Despite fervent pro-choice protests surrounding the court case of Tegan Leach and Sergie Brennan in Cairns, new research indicates that perhaps public opinion on the matter is not so black and white.
A phone poll of four hundred Queenslanders last week showed that the public isn’t aware of what reforming this law would really mean.
Alan Baker, The Australian Family Association: “Forty-nine per cent either in favour of keeping the law as it is or making it more strict, and forty-seven per cent preferring it to be less restrictive.”
A main point was that many women are already pressured into abortions and more safeguards are needed.
Teresa Martin, Cherish Life: “Every other door is shut to them, if we can bring in independent counselling perhaps one of those doors can be left ajar.”
The poll included thirteen questions discussing counselling, cooling off periods between appointments and when abortion isn’t acceptable.
Only one per cent of abortions occur after twenty weeks, usually for major medical reasons. However if abortion was decriminalised, terminations could occur for any reason at any stage in a pregnancy.
Family Planning Queensland provides counselling services and education about sexual health and pregnancy, and they say access to abortion is a necessity.
Janelle Weissman, Family Planning Queensland: “As long as contraception is not a hundred per cent effective there needs to be access to abortion, because a woman needs to be able to decide when and if she has children.”
The research also had a strong message for politicians. Support for abortion law reform would produce a twelve per cent swing against, them in the polls.
Kathleen Calderwood, QUT News.