Raising the BARR – Week ending 9 August 2019

The Beauty of Our Democracy and Freedoms

Last week in State Parliament we dealt with a highly controversial bill around reproductive health.  It was essentially a question around the right of a woman and medical staff to terminate a pregnancy, what many would call an abortion, without breaking the law up against the question of whether or not this matter should continue to be treated as an illegal action.

For the record, I voted for the law to be changed so that women and medical staff could choose to do what they already do without it being a law breaking event.

I appreciate and understand that everyone reading this column would have their own views.  And you can rest assured that dozens of people made contact with me to express their views both for and against.  In fact, so many people called and left messages that I won’t be able to get back to everyone individually, so please accept this as my thanks for expressing your views.

For many decades now, the event of terminating a pregnancy has been practiced in our public hospitals by fully trained and qualified staff in the best and safest of conditions.  Even though doing so was breaking the law, it was happening in our public hospitals because the alternative was to be having pregnancies aborted in the most horrible and unsafe of conditions in homes, back alleys and by untrained people.  For as long as history can record, people have wanted to not go through with their pregnancies.  Having abortion classified as illegal did not stop the want or demand.

So the State could continue to “turn a blind eye” to an obvious illegal action, or, change the law.  And that’s what happened last week.  The issue of reproduction, whether it goes to a full term pregnancy or a termination will now be dealt with as a health issue.

At front of Parliament and through various MP’s offices, people put forward their views.  Yes, some of these people were “protestors” both for and against.  But I reflected on how brilliant our country is that you could protest, support, and give voice to your views, without any fear for your safety.  Our democracy isn’t perfect, nor are our freedoms, but by crikey, they are wonderfully good.