Update on the so-called “Zoe’s Law” Bill

Liberal MP Chris Spence has taken up the ultrasound-wand baton from Christian Democrat Fred Nile, proposing a new version of the Crimes Amendment (Zoe’s Law) Bill 2013 No.2 which would recognise a foetus as being a living person at the age of 20 weeks, or at 400 grams.

Reproductive rights campaigners’ protests have been getting some decent coverage by the news media, with many articles such as this one by Mehreen Faruqi in the New Matilda. Farqui writes “Zoe’s Law Bill No 2 is a repackaged version of an earlier bill from Fred Nile with essentially the same aim: to achieve legislative recognition of foetuses as living persons, entirely separate from their mothers. … This is both dangerous and unnecessary.”

In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, representatives from women’s health and advocacy organisations, and from the NSW Bar Association are quoted expressing their concerns over the lack of consultation around this Bill. As of yet, the NSW Liberal Party has not arranged for the coalition of women’s organisations to be able to brief Liberal MPs on this issue, despite repeated requests.

In an article for New Matilda, Margaret Kirkby, Lynn Muir and Christine Smith from the Women’s Abortion Action Campaign (WAAC),  note that “utilises anti-abortion language and it moves away from terminology which is scientifically and medically correct.” These authors state that “The draft law is a clear attempt to undermine women’s reproductive rights.”

Online legislative research website TimeBase also reports on the introduction of the Bill, makes note of the fact that “Only 20 per cent of lower house MPs are women in the New South Wales Parliament, and just a third of upper house MPs.”

At least some of the women in the NSW Parliament are allies in the fight to maintain our reproductive rights.

The Women’s Electoral Lobby is also keeping up the pressure.

There’s a very interesting article in The Hoopla about a debate in South Australia over granting stillborn babies under 20 weeks death certificates. (Eeech, that is a sad sentence) 😦

And Women’s Legal Services NSW has released a statement of concern as well, and give a good overview of the proposed changes. Women’s Legal also have some guidelines for writing letters expressing concerns about this Bill to the Attorney General and to your local member, if you have a chance, think about doing so.

The Our Bodies Our Choices campaign website makes it especially easy to email your local MP; click here and you can do it now.

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  1. […] information about us and the Bill at http://ourbodiesourchoices.weebly.com and in this article and this update on the F Collective […]



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