I need to start by stating that my views and perspectives on this issue are not set in stone. I always aim to allow my opinions to change and encourage people who disagree with me to enter into a discussion with me because that way, we both grow in our knowledge.
In the Australian state that I live in, New South Wales, an abortion bill has just been passed in the lower house of the state government. It has now been sent to the upper house, however; some amendments could be made, prolonging the process for several weeks. In every Australian state, abortion is legal to protect the life and health of a woman, and in 6 of the 7 states, abortion is legal on request, however; in New South Wales, abortion is still a criminal offence.
The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 allows for an abortion to take place up to 22 weeks and the approval of two doctors after 22 weeks. The second doctor does not have to see the patient, be independent, and there is no legal penalty if the rule is not observed, raising concerns about the possibility of late abortions taking place. Moreover, it raises issues regarding doctors and whether they have to refer for abortion. This is compounded by the broad, possible reasons for abortion after 22 weeks included in the bill, leading to a possible violation of doctors’ human rights as they are unable to exercise their conscience.
There are apparent issues with the current bill, but they are beginning to be recognised, and statute law can be amended. Regarding national unity, abortion should be legalised in Australia. Although Australia has state governments, their residual power is decreasing at an exponential rate, and a contentious issue such as abortion should have a national framework and platform which is currently not possible due to the differences in legislation between NSW and the other states. A national approach would be beneficial in increasing the safety of parents and children within the process and creating clear federal regulations.
Furthermore, the argument which has been presented across social media is the line, “woman should be allowed to make decisions about their own body”. The basis of this comment I agree with. A group of men sitting in an office shouldn’t dictate the lives and decisions of women in the community, especially regarding an issue that his immensely personal and different in each circumstance.
Nevertheless, in a majority of cases, becoming pregnant is a choice. It is a choice to participate in sexual activity. It is not required by the law to be sexually active, there are no consequences for failing to be sexually active, and primarily, it’s a conscious decision. Moreover, in a majority of cases, it is a choice to have unprotected sex. There is no requirement to have unprotected sex, and this too is primarily a conscious decision. This is where I am left confused.
However, there are cases when abortion should always be available. If the woman has been denied the choice to sexual activity such as instances of rape or other situations, abortion should be available. Furthermore, the safety and health of the woman should also be prioritised over the child, and if this means that an abortion takes place, that is acceptable.
It is a moral issue, not a legal matter. This difference needs to be made clear, and this is where I stand. The law has to be exact in all cases, and regarding abortion, this is incredibly difficult as it is a personal issue which is different in every situation. Thus, abortion should not be a criminal offence as it is not a legal issue. However, we need to take a more in-depth look into the topic. Why are women having abortions? What can we do to assist women in making positive decisions? How can we support women before, during and after an abortion? These are the questions that must be answered and positively addressed.
We need to create a national framework and programs to support women in making decisions. We need to conduct research into why women are having abortions, and how we can find solutions. That could include increased education for youth regarding the safe practising of sexual activity or other measures.
Women are important and valuable members of society, and I don’t want to sit here as a young male thinking that I know everything and that my opinion is somehow more valid than someone else’s. I will continue to read, continue to listen and continue to learn because this issue is becoming more relevant within society. Positive and productive discussions need to take place, and I hope that this article can assist in allowing for that. So what do you think, should abortion be legalised?