Pregnant MP: Why I support abortion reforms

DEBATE on laws to decriminalise abortion in Queensland has begun in State Parliament today as MPs prepare to have a conscience vote on the changes.


LNP MP Ted Sorensen, who was fostered out when he was 13 months old, fought back tears as he spoke against the Bill, saying.

"Every baby has a right to live, whether it's 20 weeks, whether it's 22 weeks," he said.

"There's a real baby there - I was one of them.

"I don't think anybody's got the rights to take a life."

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LNP MP Jann Stuckey said she has lost sleep as she wrestled with how to vote on the Termination of Pregnancy Bill.

Ms Stuckey did not reveal how she would vote on the Bill during her speech today but she told the House she believed medical and surgical terminations performed by medical professionals should be decriminalised.

5.15PM: MP details why he wrestled with Bill stance 

LABOR MP Linus Power has indicated he will give his initial support to the Palaszczuk Government's abortion reforms but will consider any amendments before his final vote.

Mr Power detailed a personal story in which a close friend revealed to him her abortion and the impact it had on her.

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"She cried and cried. Deep visceral sobbing that I hope never to experience again."

He spoke of how he had wrestled with the Bill before revealing how he intended to vote.

"I intend to vote for it on the second reading and consider all the amendments before my final vote," he told the House.

4PM: Pregnant MP: Changes 'grant women dignity'

A PREGNANT Queensland Labor MP has spoken out in favour of decriminalising abortion in the state, telling State Parliament it is up to women to decide what happens to their own bodies.

Labor MP Nikki Boyd told the house she had been sent "vile vitriol" by those opposed to abortion reform, which had only strengthened her resolve to see legislative changes passed.

Nikki Boyd.
Debate on abortion laws began in State Parliament on Tuesday, with the entire three-day sitting week set aside for the issue.

The measures would see abortion removed from the criminal code and made a health issue, allowing women to terminate pregnancies up to 22 weeks' gestation.

"We must entrust women to make one of the most important health decisions that they will ever make," Ms Boyd said.

Terminations after 22 weeks would be allowed with the approval of two separate doctors.

Health Minister Steven Miles said the choice wasn't between abortion and no abortion, as around 14,000 terminations are already carried out in Queensland every year. Instead, it was about allowing women access to abortion with "privacy, respect and dignity", he said.

Both Labor and the LNP have granted their MPs a free vote on the issue, meaning at least a few LNP members would need to vote for the changes to see them passed.

Both the Premier and her deputy Jackie Trad, who has been one of the strongest advocates for the changes, are yet to speak in the debate, which will continue on Wednesday.

2.25PM: Abortion Bill slammed as 'morally wrong'

DEPUTY Opposition Leader Tim Mander has revealed he will be voting against the Bill, describing it as "morally wrong".  

"I believe, as do hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders, that the foetus in a womb is a baby - it is a human being," he said.  

"This is not a religious view. This is a scientific fact and because of this it's just wrong, in my opinion, to allow a perfectly healthy baby to be killed on demand up to 22 weeks gestation."

12.50PM: Bill 'flawed from the beginning'

OPPOSITION Leader Deb Frecklington rose in State Parliament to speak against the Bill, saying she did not believe abortion should be available on demand.  

She said the "badly crafted Bill" would seemingly push women into having terminations.  

"I believe this Bill has been flawed from the beginning," she said.  

"Its aim has never been to help women, doctors or babies.   "Its aim has been to create a political wedge and sow division in our community."

Health Minister Steven Miles began the debate - expected to take at least two days - with his second reading speech.

He accused those opposed to the laws, which will remove abortion from the Criminal Code and allow women to procure one up until 22 weeks' gestation, and in consultation with two doctors after that, of spreading misinformation.

Ms Frecklington claimed the introduction of the Bill was a politically motivated decision.  

"After the last election, the left faction took control of Labor and Labor controls Parliament," she said.  

"We now have the most ideologically driven government Queensland has ever seen and it is determined to destroy the consensus that has emerged on this issue over many years."    

12.25PM: Janetzki vows to vote against changes

THE Opposition's first speaker on Labor's abortion reform laws has declared he will vote against the changes, saying he was honouring the views of the LNP membership.  

LNP frontbencher David Janetzki told the House he also intended to stick with the view of the party's parliamentary wing - its MPs - before the election when it decided to vote against former MP Rob Pyne's attempt to change the laws.  

"In an atmosphere where the community is ever more distrustful of promises made by us as elected representatives, I affirm the position of the LNP membership," Mr Janetzki told the House today.  

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"The grassroots members of my party have repeatedly debated termination laws and repeatedly concluded that there was no reason to change them.  

"I also affirm the position of the parliamentary wing of the LNP who committed prior to the State Election in 2017 that they would not amend the termination laws in Queensland,  

"I will not walk away form this commitment to the Queensland people or the people of Toowoomba South."   He said his community was "overwhelmingly" against the changes.  

The LNP's party room last week agreed to have a conscience vote on the Termination of Pregnancy Bill but the party has made sure they are aware of the membership's view on the issue.  

The Courier-Mail revealed last month that LNP President Gary Spence told MPs they could face backlash when they renominate should they support the changes.  

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles has hit out at opponents of the proposed decriminalisation of abortion in Queensland for spreading misinformation. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles has hit out at opponents of the proposed decriminalisation of abortion in Queensland for spreading misinformation. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

"We'll no doubt hear some of these misleading claims in the house this week," Mr Miles told the House.

"Some members will try to mislead this house today, as they have before.

"So before we start what could be a long debate lets get some facts on the record.

"This bill will not increase late term abortions.

"It will not lead to sex selective abortions.

"It won't allow women to terminate their pregnancies 'up until birth'.

"Women won't start using abortion as their preferred method of contraception."

Mr Miles said about 99 per cent of abortions took place before 20 weeks gestation with the majority of those before 12 weeks.

"Terminations after 22 weeks usually involve complex medical circumstances such as delayed diagnosis of serious or fatal foetal abnormalities, or serious and complex maternal illness."

The laws will also establish "safe access zones" around clinics where abortions are performed to prevent the harassment of patients.

Mr Miles described the misinformation being spread about the laws and abortion as "appalling".

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