I am about to discuss the current state of abortion in Australia. If this triggers you, please go past.
I believe that I, along with the rest of the world who is not in a place of considering what a woman needs to do to protect her health and livelihood - have no place in deciding whether or not she is able to do so safely. Abortion is heartbreaking for everyone involved - it does not need to be life threatening as well.
This point of view is from a mother to be, a young woman, and above all - a human being with empathy and compassion for my peers that understands and respects that if someone felt they had to make this decision, it would never be done lightly.
I respect your feelings and thoughts on this topic, but these are my own and I am sharing them because we have a chance to make a difference.
The following has been created with the help and support of Kirilly Dawn, a birth doula for Indigenous Doulas and all round inspirational woman to me for education on our bodies. This is an excerpt of her words.
“Abortion is still illegal in NSW. It’s the last state or territory to decriminalise abortion laws… As it stands, womens reproductive rights are bound to a 119 year old crimes act. I had no idea the state was trying to govern my body with the cultural patriarchal mindset of 1900. Abortion carries a 10 year jail sentence, and though it it’s rarely used, in 2018 a woman was prosecuted for takin ga drugs to induce abortion that she bought off the internet.
The Reproductive Health Reform Bill 2019 is being introduced this week by Independent MP Alex Greenwich, and clearly states the ta woman who has an abortion is not committing an offence. It’s going to be raised in parliaments first sitting this fortnight.
We must act NOW.”
This bill was delayed yesterday (as requested by some liberal MPs who are strongly opposed to the legislation, and others who said they didn't have enough time to read it), so it will be introduced Thursday 1st August and will be discussed in Parliament next week. (You can read more on this ABC article)
What can you do? Use your voice.
Here is a template of a letter that you can send to NSW MP’s of how you feel about the act. All you need to do is copy and paste it, sign your name and send it through. You can find your local MP’s contact details here. And if you need further help to find the best person for you, you can find it here.
Example, I live in Byron Bay, So I used the first link and the ‘find’ function to search for ‘Ballina’ and found ‘Tamara Smith’, and her provided email email@example.com.
Here is the letter/email.
Dear NSW Member of Parliament,
I am writing to express my full support of the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 being introduced to Parliament this week, and implore you to support this legislation which will decriminalise abortion in NSW.
Women have the intelligence and wisdom to know what is right for their own bodies and lives. Today in NSW, the law does not reflect this. Abortion is included in the Crimes Act 1900, carrying a 10 year jail sentence. NSW is the last Australian state or territory to decriminalise abortion, the last state to legally recognise a woman's right to reproductive choice in a safe, legal and accessible environment.
The Reproductive Health Care Reform bill recognises women's autonomy and sovereignty over their own bodies and will provide greater access and support to abortion as a health care service.
Currently, the criminalisation of abortion disproportionately impacts women in disadvantaged, remote and rural communities. The current laws contribute to problems with access, generating stigma, confusion and a fear of prosecution that can discourage doctors and facilities from providing a full range of reproductive health services, and make it difficult for women to access the healthcare they need.
Barrister and Australian Lawyers Alliance spokeswoman Ngaire Watson has said "The current laws are out-of-date and inconsistent with international human rights standards, which recognise the right to reproductive choice, access to safe health care and equality for women before the law".
The majority of NSW residents want this change. In 2018, a study published by the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health found that 73 per cent of NSW residents agreed with decriminalisation and believed abortion should be regulated as a healthcare service.
The women of NSW need you to recognise women's rights and hear us when we say we need abortion to be decriminalised and our human rights honoured. Please represent us with an informed mind and heart, and read the NSW Pro-Choice Alliance's fact sheets.
YOUR VOICE IS IMPORTANT AND CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Abortion is a difficult subject and we aren’t really educated on it unless we search for more information - or find ourselves dealing with it first hand either from a family member, friend, or ourselves. This is not a letter to say that it is right or fair, but whether it is possible for those in the most unfortunate situation to be able to do so safely. There are many repercussions that come with this procedure, physical health should not be one of them.
Thank you for reading and another special thank you to Kirilly for all that she does in our community and beyond. Comment below when you have sent yours!