DECRIMINALISING abortion in Queensland would open the floodgates on a practice already estimated to take over 14,000 unborn lives a year across the state, according to a Central Highlands-based pro-life group.
Cherish Life Emerald branch members Margaret Smith and Ross Grierson fear a private member’s bill is soon be tabled in State Parliament, leaving no protection, recognition or rights for the unborn baby, similar to the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Bill passed without amendment in 2008.
The pair pointed to an independent Galaxy poll taken in the wake of a young Cairns couple acquitted in October of procuring and supplying a drug to procure an abortion.
It showed 49 per cent of Queenslanders would not support abortion for non-medical reasons, and 29 per cent would not sanction abortion at any stage of pregnancy.
“In Victoria, you can abort a baby right up until birth; you can demand one,” said Mrs Smith.
“So many terrible things are happening down there and our concern is we want people to be well informed… because we have 14,000-plus abortions in Queensland already and it’s not even legal, and last year there were only 16 children up for adoption.”
“And in Victoria, it’s gone up 600 per cent since the law was brought in,” added Mr Grierson.
Mrs Smith said Cherish Life, a non-religious, non-judgmental and non-political organisation, was there to educate the community and to support women and their families suffering from post abortion stress.
The group also offers financial, mental and spiritual support for single mothers choosing to raise a baby alone.
“We have had quite a few occasions where sadly, the ones we did try to help did have abortions but a couple of them did come back and talk to us,” said Mrs Smith.
“People don’t necessarily have to speak to us face-to-face, we have referral points we can send people to… sometimes they don’t want to talk to anyone in Emerald; they want to remain anonymous.
“The big thing we say is they see abortion as a quick fix and no-one’s going to know about it, but that doesn’t happen.”
Mr Grierson said so often women were coerced into abortion by their partners, without understanding “the pain can go on forever”.
Cherish Life members also understand there is a high demand for the morning after pill in Emerald, particularly on weekends.
“Most people will just minimise it, and maybe a percentage of people can get on with their lives, but a lot of people regret an abortion… and they’re not given the full story about the actual pain that is involved,” said Mr Grierson.
“Then a few brave ones have written books and stories about their experiences, and they are just unbelievable.
“We’re trying to get more information out there to people so they can be informed.”
The Galaxy poll was based on 13 questions to random Queensland voters.
Twelve per cent of respondents said they would not support a member of parliament who voted to decriminalise abortion.
An overwhelming 94 per cent said they believed women should receive free independent counselling and information.
Seventy-four per cent of Queenslanders polled opposed abortion past the first trimester.
Voters are split on the issue of decriminalisation.
“The majority of people are happy about anything less than 14 weeks, but anything past that there’s a huge amount of people saying no, not at all,” Mr Grierson observed.
“We know even though some people might not know a lot about it, most people in their heart know it’s not the right thing to do – no way.”
Cherish Life meets on the first Monday of each month at 7.30pm at St Patrick’s parish office in Yamala Street, Emerald.
Mrs Smith can be contacted on 0417 632 552.
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