It’s still not legal to get an abortion in Queensland. Or NSW. This is 2016, and in our so-called progressive country the State continues to retain the right to make our bodies its moral territory.
It’s a biological gerrymander with ethical and political borders still focused on our fertility.
Earlier this week, Queensland’s Parliamentary inquiry into abortion law reform rejected Women’s Right To Choose Bill to decriminalise abortion across the state. Clearly being barefoot and pregnant is still the idealised female condition in the sunshine state — whether she likes it or not.
In Queensland, abortion is defined as unlawful and women can be criminally prosecuted for accessing abortion. The Children By Choice Association Website cites legislation under Section 225 of the criminal code which states:
‘Any woman, who with intent to procure her own miscarriage, whether she is or is not with child, unlawfully administers to herself any poison or other noxious thing, or uses any force of any kind or uses any other means whatever, or permits any such thing or means to be administered or used to her, is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for seven years’.
This is a criminal code that dates back to 1899, reflecting the moral and social values of an era that preceded women having status as independent citizens. We didn’t even have the vote then. Our bodies were the property of our parents, then our husbands, and ultimately, the government.
Thanks to the work of forward-thinking suffragettes, feminists and those who championed equality, diversity and inclusion, we are now supposedly stakeholders in a system that is meant to recognise and protect our rights.
In Victoria, the Abortion Law Reform Act in 2008 allowed for the provision of an abortion on request by a qualified person if the woman is less than 24 weeks pregnant. South Australia was the first state to liberalise abortion through legislation. Even Tasmania decriminalised abortion (up to 16 weeks) back in 2013.
So then why is it that in Queensland and NSW that terminating a pregnancy is still ‘illegal’? How can one country have so many different laws to govern who terminates the tenancy of our uteruses?
Is it that all uteruses are equal, just that some uteruses are more equal than others? Depending what state you are in?
See some of the incredible Australians who are pro-choice. (Post continues after gallery.)