I was brushing my teeth when I heard on the radio that a bill to decriminalise abortion would be debated in NSW parliament today.
‘About time’, I thought, imagining the positive, albeit reflective, article I’d write at the end of the day. After the conscience vote was completed and the bill passed through.
LOL. Joke’s on me. You see, I forgot.
I forgot the NSW Parliament is run three-to-one by white male ministers. (If you don’t believe me, click here.)
The bill wasn’t outrageous.
Minister Mehreen Faruqi from the Greens wasn’t offering to provide abortion ‘discounts’ or ‘benefits’ or ‘coupon codes’. She wasn’t urging women to rush out and terminate pregnancies without a second thought.
No. All she was trying to do was remove the procedure from the criminal code. Because, at the moment, that’s where we’re at: abortion in NSW is listed on the Crimes Act.
Yes, previous legal cases have ruled doctors can administer abortions if they deem the pregnancy a 'risk' to the woman's physical or mental health.
But there are still legal hurdles to jump over. And, for patients, who are already feeling confused and torn and raw and vulnerable, the threat of facing criminal charges makes things more difficult. Unnecessarily so.
"The bill I’m proposing makes no changes to the health process and rules of how abortions are performed," Dr Faruqi told media.