Tasmania’s Proposed Abortion Law Changes

Hi friends!

Many of you by now will have heard about plans afoot to change Tasmania’s laws surrounding access to abortion. In short, the draft bill is modelled on a Victorian law (2008) which allows a medical practitioner to perform abortions up to 24 weeks. After 24 weeks gestation, the woman would need written certification from two doctors, one who must be a specialist gynaecologist or obstetrician, that the pregnancy would cause a greater risk to the woman’s “well-being” than the abortion procedure.

Current law in Tasmania allows abortion to 12 weeks gestation.

Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne announced the draft legislation last week and since then I have had countless conversations with people who, like me, are sickened by our government’s flagrant lack of concern for the unborn.

But rather than just shake our heads, we really need to act on this. We need to be heard and as submissions to the draft bill in question are only open until April 5, we need to act fast. Here is everything you need to know to get yourself informed, and then get yourself heard:

To view the draft Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2013, click here.

To view the information paper on the above bill, click here.

To read a news article on all this, click here.

And, most importantly, to tell our government what you think about this disastrous legislation, email public.health@dhhs.tas.gov.au or send a hard copy letter to GPO Box 125 Hobart, TAS, 7001.

You might like to consider these points when framing your letter.

Say that you oppose the proposal because it would:

– Allow abortion of babies who are capable of being born alive.
– Legalise the brutal partial birth abortion method which involves the breech delivery of the living, moving child, except for the head. The abortionist then stabs scissors into the base of the baby’s skull, inserts a suction tube to remove the brain, crushes the skull, then delivers the rest of the baby – dead.
– Remove the protection of the law from all unborn children in Tasmania right up to birth.
– Not provide any support for women who are under pressure to abort from partners or others. Women coerced in this way may regret their abortions for the rest of their lives.
– Force all health professionals to facilitate abortion under threat of possible deregistration and loss of livelihood.

Please, please, please take the time to write – your voice is so important. And then, tell all your friends to do the same – for the sake of our beautiful, valued and vulnerable unborn babies.


    • Lena says

      Thank you for the information. I now feel totally sick

  1. The Todds says

    Dear Claire,

    Thank you – I have already sent a short submission – but your email/info will be fantastic to send to friends…

    Thanks for taking action…

    God Bless,


  2. Thank you Claire. As a Christian and a mum to twins born at 25 weeks nearly 9 years ago who are alive and well today, I am so very strongly opposed to this horrendous proposal. I greatly appreciate your time in writing the article! Cathy.

  3. Anita Denholm says

    I think that any birth over 20 weeks is recorded on births, deaths etc registry….So what do they do about medical terminations at 20 + weeks?????…recorded as still born due to ? or is it murder after 20 weeks…’knowingly taking a life?’. Or is this just seen as a medical ‘casualty’? If you cause the death of an unborn child (20 + weeks)in a car accident- ie the baby is born dead as aresult of the car accident…Is the driver charged with manslaughter????or death be negligent driving??…Well just a thought to ponder on.

    • Judy says

      In most states apart from SA the little one who is aborted is not even a statistic – the abortion does not have to be recorded. But God records every little life. x

  4. Just like there is no excuse for rape, there is no excuse for abortion. Full stop.

    • Lena says

      Not these days, we just had sorry day, look what happened to tens of thousands of women

  5. Anne Oosting says

    Thankyou Claire for your dedication to the light of the world. Anyone who has any doubts about the rights and wrongs of abortion should read ‘Giving Sorrow
    Words, Women’s stories of grief after abortion’, 2000, Tankard Reist M., Duffy and Snellgrove, Australia.

  6. Denise Sly says

    Thanks Claire for your on going fight for these precious children. The laws must not be changed. A friend has a gorgeous girl who was born at 24 weeks. I can’t believe anyone by law could destroy one such as her.

    • I agree. Our world is becoming crueler and more aggressive and more cunning. Some claim that abortion is for the “rights” of women. They forgot that a right that violates another is not a right.

  7. Judy says

    Dear Claire, this is a copy of a letter I have posted to all Tassie politicians. It’s probably too long to post it all here (after moderation) but maybe there is a part you might like to include on your site. God Bless you, Judy

    I am writing to you about the issue of abortion as I find it a very, very sad indictment on our society when we even consider laws to make the killing of our unborn children easier.

    If a mother kills her newborn infant – the law comes into play, sometimes quite harshly. How then can another law endorse a mother’s killing of her own child, before that child has had a chance to draw even one breath? At 12 weeks gestation a baby is fully formed – it just needs time to ‘flesh out the details’. An unborn baby is still very much alive and its needs are exactly the same as one that has just been born. Regardless of whether a baby is born at 40 weeks gestation, or is in the womb at 24 weeks, both have the exact same needs of protection, nutrients and love, in order to survive.

    I nursed at The Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne in a special care nursery and babies of 24 weeks gestation, with assistance and time, commonly thrived. Why go to great lengths to save the lives of these little babies, when elsewhere, in the same country, children of this gestation are killed? To me, it is hypocrisy at the highest level.

    We give enormous ears to the rights of women, and their right to do ‘whatever’ to their own bodies. But a baby is not a woman’s body. She does not need it to function; it is a completely separate entity, another little body and soul, who comes from her body, and is nurtured by her body, but it is NOT her body! A baby is a separate being with a different blood supply and often a different blood type to its mother. A mother should have absolutely no right to abort a child who is totally reliant on her for protection, without the prior consent of that little life.

    If a mother does not want her child, she can give it up for adoption – there are many couples who would adopt if babies were more available. But abortion should never, ever be used as a form of birth control. Abortion is not birth control; it is a barbaric controlled killing. As a society we would be totally up in arms if we heard of a people group ‘sacrificing’ their children. It is a horrific thought! But in our ‘civilised’ society we propose to do exactly the same thing, but call it by another name. The power in a word!

    In no way do I condemn people who have aborted their babies. But if there is some way to help save our most vulnerable people group, I seek that way. Saving babies will also save their mothers, as many mothers who have aborted babies have been left with lifelong emotional and sometimes physical scars. Many studies reveal the hugely increased psychological issues and suicide amongst those who have aborted children. I humbly ask you to make a stand for our unborn children and the emotional health of their mothers. Please give these little ones a voice and a vote.

    • Thank you Judy – I’ve posted all your letter because you make so many good points, particularly in saying that a baby is not a woman’s body and therefore we have no right to take that baby’s life.

    • Thank you for standing up for what is right.

      Bless you

  8. A big thank you to everyone for writing submissions and letters to pollies, for sharing with your family and friends about this issue and how we must respond. Tomorrow will mark a week until submissions close – so keep up the pressure! I have been so encouraged by your response xx

  9. Roger Martin says

    I sent the following message to the Minister.

    Dear Minister,

    May I respectfully warn you of the awful consequences if your private members bill is approved by parliament. So much of public comment refers to the right of a mother to choose what she does and doesn’t do with her body; but I see very little comment about the rights of an unborn child. Even in a contact sport like AFL, players are not free to do what they like with their bodies, IF it impinges on the well being of an opponent, such as a head high tackle or shirt front.
    There are many more examples in our society, where one’s actions are governed by the rights of others, from driving to neighbours etc. etc.
    This is a clear precedent with which most people would agree.
    May I beg you to apply this principle to the rights of an unborn child and preserve many, many lives.
    Are you aware of the story of one of the world’s greatest musicians, Tchaikovsky? If not, may I recommend that you Google it?
    Minister, the consequences for untold numbers of future citizens are in your hands. Please don’t pursue this awful proposal.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Roger L G Martin

  10. Darralyn Housego says

    I think it’s disgusting this is a life we are talking about an innocent life. When we can let people that are terminally ill suffer until their body’s can’t take anymore. So why do have the right to not make uthenasure not legal to those of sound mind who do not want to suffer anymore then they have to or watch the sadness in their family’s as u slowly fade away as they are shredded of all there dignity . But yet you can take a innocent life of someone so precious that didn’t ask to be made, that could possibly be someone amazing in this world. ???????

  11. Tea says

    I doubt anyone ever WANTS to have an abortion.
    I doubt its something that the woman doesn’t feel a great deal of stress/sorrow/anguish going through.
    Being a parent is something you should have a choice about. It’s the biggest decision and most important job you’ll ever make. That job is not for everyone.
    Being made to feel forced into having a child can be even more stressful/anguishing than an abortion, and their life will never be what they hope for.
    Not everyone is the same.
    Pro-choice is not about ‘you HAVE to kill your child’
    But in some cases, a women’s despair is so great if they fall pregnant unintentionally (rape, failed birth control,) they would rather take their own lives.
    This isn’t right.
    Or if carrying through with a pregnancy will cause serious health issues/death of the mother, and the only option is abortion, what do you say then?

    Again, it’s not something one LIKES doing. But sometimes it needs to be.

    On saying that, up to 4 months is too far, and a decision should’ve been made long before then.

    • Well said Tea. I hope you send this to the Minister. Every child born should be planned and wanted. Too many women are starry eyed about the attention given to the pregnant status and the cuteness of the newborn. Harsh reality is that an unwanted baby becomes a millstone and too often is maltreated.
      Distressing but true.

    • As you say, 24 weeks is too far, especially considering that the legislation we have already permits abortion to 12 weeks, and even to 40 weeks with medical sign-offs. I hope you too will make your voice heard by sending a submission opposing this bill.
      Thanks for dropping by.

  12. Jasmin says

    You are right, it is not a decision made lightly. The procedure is easy physically but mentally —– not easy. Parenthood is not for everyone.
    Some people cannot cope mentally with being a parent, tis not an easy job.
    Some have medical problems which would put their own well being at risk.
    Strange as it sounds, some do not even realise that they are pregnant till quite late (I knew someone who was one the way to hospital in an abulance when they told her she was giving birth, not the sharpest tool in the shed I admit but it does happen).
    Not everyone is born to be a parent, to some of us it is not natural but simply terrifying. I know that many would find this hard to believe. I would rather take my own life than be responsible for another, I find it that scary.
    So to those who scream murder at a someone considering this drastic step, walk a mile in their shoes before you judge. A man can have the fun of being daddy but without the fear of dying in chidbirth or having their bodies ruined by complications but a woman’s life is changed forever.

    • I’m so sorry you feel that way Jasmin. I admit, childbirth was a scary thing for me too, but it’s so very rare to die in childbirth these days and the joy of my son far outweighs the short ordeal of labour. The process of pregnancy, labour and breastfeeding gave me a new appreciation for the complex and marvellous bodies we have (and what they are capable of), and how creative our Heavenly Father is.
      Not everyone is born to be a parent, yes, but that decision should not be made after conception. A child should never be sacrificed for our convenience and, in those situations where mistakes happen – or in the cases of rape perhaps – there are other options like adoption that, rather than add grief to an already difficult situation, allow life to continue and healing to begin.
      Thanks for dropping by Jasmin x

  13. Amy says

    Hi Claire

    Thanks for posting this great reminder to be vigilant of changes to legislation and to be letting our MPs know our opinions so they can be presented to the government.

    As someone who deals with legislation every day I thought I would just mention that the draft bill doesn’t legalise any particular methods of abortion – in fact it doesn’t make mention of methods at all it is more of a philosophical case for later term abortions. In my mind this may be a telling sign that the practicalities of the legislation probably haven’t been fully thought through and there is likely merit in bringing to the attention of MPs how exactly these procedures are carried out. Perhaps unintentionally, these children have probably become unwanted pregnancy statistics in the mind of the MPs that the government is rightly seeking to address.

    For this reason any objection to this legislation can only be one part of a bigger vision. Please ask MPs not to broaden the abortion rules but rather to invest funds in improving the adoption system and providing greater mental health and social support to pregnant women. We cannot see the struggles of women who are unexpectedly pregnant and do nothing, if we are critical of abortion we have to seek to be part of the solution and help these women and their families in other ways.

    To that end can I encourage anyone who is expressing their concern to government about these laws to couple this with donating to organisations that seek to provide practical support to women who are considering abortion. In Sydney we have a wonderful organisation called Pregnant Alternatives (http://pregnantalternatives.com.au/) which starts by asking women “In an ideal world would you want to keep this baby?” and for those who say “Yes” asks them next, “What can we do to help make life more like your ideal world?”. These organisations are helping women to make the decision they wanted to all along but never thought they were capable of. Their work is invaluable. I’m not sure if there is a Tasmanian equivalent but I am sure there are groups doing similar work.

    I think it is important when considering this legislation to consider that while protecting the rights of unborn children is a must we cannot be neglectful of the distress and and anguish their mothers must be feeling to be considering this process.

    Many thanks


    • Hi Amy,
      Yes – so true – you bring to attention a very important part of the abortion debate: how integral it is that sufficient pregnancy support services are in place.

      “We cannot see the struggles of women who are unexpectedly pregnant and do nothing, if we are critical of abortion we have to seek to be part of the solution and help these women and their families in other ways.”

      Amen! I believe some Tasmanian politicians have been lobbying government to fund pregnancy support services throughout the state. If anyone knows more about this, let me know and I’ll put the info up here.

      Thanks for dropping by Amy, and for your insight. Bless you x

  14. shanna says

    hello i just read this forum thing and i totally agree, i wrote my own letter to the minister telling them that its wrong and its murder, i have also been informed that it could also take up to 6 months for this bill to be granted
    lets cross our fingers that the people in parliament will have a heart

  15. Hi Claire, thank you.

    Here is an email I sent to the Minister for Health, the Honourable Michelle O’Byrne

    Dear Minister,

    I am writing in regard to the proposed change to Tasmania’s laws surrounding access to abortion.

    I wish to request that these proposed changes not be made.

    I am sure that the intent behind these laws comes from a genuine desire to support women during the crisis of unplanned pregnancy by providing a greater opportunity for women to be freed of an unexpected or unwanted burden.  It is very noble to want the best for our women and to provide the means for maintaining their well-being.

    However, I am concerned that the rationale behind these laws and the implications of these laws have not been fully thought through.

    In regard to the confirmation by medical practitioners of a woman’s candidacy for abortion, I note the following:  It is easy to have two doctors agree that a pregnancy would cause a risk towards a woman’s well-being, because every woman’s health is at risk during pregnancy. Women are depleted of protein, iron, folate and can often suffer things like morning sickness, constipation, backache, anaemia, pre-eclampsia, DVT and diabetes.  Yet despite these risks, the incidence of maternal mortality in Australia is actually quite low, i.e. 7 per 100,000 live births in 2010 (Source: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=14770). So we see that the vast majority of Australian women can cope with the health risks and give birth successfully.

    It is also assumed that carrying out an abortion is in the woman’s best interest.  However, in many cases, women who have had an abortion suffer serious psychological trauma following the procedure and come to regret that they chose this option.  The suicide rate of women who have had an abortion has been found to be much higher than women who carry their child to full-term.  Abortion can also affect a woman’s physical health and reduce a woman’s ability to have subsequent children. (Source: http://cherishlife.org.au/Resource-Areas/Abortion/85)

    Rather than seeking to promote and strengthen abortion laws, we should be seeking to promote and strengthen counselling services for women where they may obtain the much needed support, protection and helpful information that they may endure pregnancy for their own well-being.

    Also, these laws should not be introduced in order to preserve Tasmania as a civilised society.  A civilised society is a society in which the needs of the vulnerable are protected.  These abortion law changes would further convey the message that the lives of unborn children are worthless and fit for indiscriminate destruction.  Surely, the unborn are the most vulnerable in our society.  It is in Tasmania’s best interests to have laws that safeguard vulnerable unborn children.  I fear that further strengthening abortion laws will also ultimately lead to more laws that will remove protection of other vulnerable people such as new-borns, infants, and even the elderly, infirm and handicapped.

    Finally, I would also like to express my own alarm at the brutal silent horror that is occurring on a hugh scale across our country.  There are at least 75,000, possibly up to 100,000, abortions carried out in Australia each year (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Australia#Statistics).  This is a staggering number compared with the 300,000 live births in Australia in 2011 (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_rate_and_fertility_rate_in_Australia).

    Do we Australians have no fear of God?  Do we Australians not value the sanctity of human life?  People are unique and are different to animals.  We bear in ourselves the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).  We have been created by God and considered as people from conception (Psalms 139:13-16).  I therefore urge the Tasmanian Government to make wise decisions regarding the lives and deaths of our people. I pray that God may be honoured in our laws and in our society, that Tasmania may truly be a great state.

    May these proposed changes not be made. Rather, may the existing laws be reviewed with a view to having them repealed.

    Thank you Minister for your consideration of this important matter.

    Kind regards

  16. Pingback: Choose Life. | Faith like a mushroom

  17. I dont understand why women dont consider adoption,to give to another such a precious gift of life,there are so many married couples devestated by the fact they cant have children,it costs lots of money for couples(if they have it)to adopt a child,when there could be women chosing to give there child to another which would bring such joy & happiness.We are put on this earth to give,to give life not take a life,yes there are consiquences for our actions,i believe to take a life there will be a consiquence & a blessing if we choose to give. We are all so selfish in nature. .

  18. Karen says

    I am disgusted at these proposed laws. Ive spent time in the nnicu and seen these tiny babys thrive and survive. One thing I havent seen mentioned yet is that sex selection is illegal in Australia through ivf embryo selection, but these laws will allow for a ‘no questions asked’ abortion after a 20 week scan if parents dont want a baby of that sex. Wrong??? Absolutely! Karen

  19. Douglas James says

    Here is my two cents worth. I have submitted it and am also contacting any politician as well.:

    I am against the changes to the abortion laws in Tasmania

    Let’s get a few things straight – we are talking about an unwanted baby, not an unwanted pregnancy.

    The changes say it should be allowed at any time for social, financial, mental well-being of the mother? Well of course – anyone who loses their job or has a marriage or partnership breakdown will be under financial stress – much more so if they have children so obviously we should extend this process and allow them to kill their children. Think of the money this will save the government in parenting payments. If you think this is horrid well under the proposed legislation you can kill the baby for this reason right up until it is “born”. After that it is considered murder!

    What about the option of mothers who do not want a baby CHOOSING to have the baby and adopt it out. Of course the response is “oh no it is too hard to do that, I couldn’t bear to give it up”. Of course it is much easier to kill it than give it a chance at life. Why would this be ok yet if one partner in a divorce kills the kids, because they can’t stand losing them, we consider that to be wrong?

    Regarding the reasons for changes: “Some studies have also found that poor outcomes extend to the child, who is more likely to have psychiatric problems, poorer social adjustment and school performance”. POORER THAN WHOM?? Lower education levels, more psychiatric problems than the babies that were killed?

    Regarding women’s rights – remember 50% of those lives terminated are female and are given no rights. Where are their rights for their body? The baby has done nothing wrong, it is its own life, often with a different blood group from the mother, it has its own distinct DNA.

    I attended the funeral recently of a one hour old baby who was born at 32 weeks. He was alive, his birth and his death were recorded. He was loved and cared for by his family for the small time they had him. He was a baby, not a foetus yet with these proposed changes a similar baby with nothing wrong could be killed as long as it had not yet been born – right up to the “40th week”. Watching the father bury his son as being the only thing left he could do for him – what devotion. Why the sadness? – it is and was a baby – not medical waste.

    Regarding the “access zones” I assume this means that no abortion centre can be placed within 150m of a church as otherwise the government will be making laws affecting peoples’ choice to practice religion or even voice discussions about this topic and how the church views it. Or does this mean that the politicians wish to oversee the church and what it can say?

    To those who will vilify me for my views I am the husband of a wonderful lady, we have an amazing daughter whom we will always support. We have gained a few “extra” daughters in the last year or so who have sort of adopted us.

    We have done and will continue to stand up for, support and defend victims of sexual abuse, rape and assault despite the cost both personal and professional that we have suffered. Unfortunately we know all too well the systems and how to access them.

    Why don’t we support the potential mothers, why don’t we educate our youth better, why don’t we allow all those couples who would be willing to adopt the chance to give a life to all these lost lives that could have contributed to society?

    I can accept, if not fully endorse, the current laws as they stand. I can understand the terrible reasons and experiences behind the need for some abortions. These proposed changes are obscene. I do not vote for any one party but I will vote for a politician who will say no to this. I will actively campaign against any politician who votes for this abhorrent proposal. Remember politicians are meant to go around shaking hands and kissing babies, NOT shaking hands and killing babies.
    Yours sincerely

    Douglas James

    • Thank you Douglas – so many poignant points you make. Thank you for sharing your letter here. I believe we attended the same funeral last week – I too have been grieving the way one baby can receive such love and devotion, buried with such deep respect for his life, albeit a short one. All this while another baby can be disposed of within the bounds of our country’s law – at the same age, with full health. Praying this moral blindness is lifted.

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