Write a letter to defend your right to choose

Stop Zoe’s Law 

F Collective is still working on the campaign to stop Zoe’s Law. Zoe’s Law is currently in Bill form, pending a vote in the upper house of the NSW Parliament. You can read in depth about the bill here, but in short: if this Bill passes it could compromise the quality of health care provided to pregnant women, privileging the foetus over the mother. You can get more information on the Bill and the campaign against it here.

What you can do

Write a letter to one of the Legislative Council members (MLCs) who are on the fence about the bill and ask them to vote against the law! It only takes ten minutes and could make a difference. MLCs have received many pro forma letters and petitions about this issue. One email in your own words, or a handwritten letter is worth a lot of signatures, it shows that you are serious about this issue and it reminds the politician in question that their voting demographic cares about the issue. For some tips on how to lobby an MP look here and here.

What to include in your letter

  • Your name and address, maybe a little about yourself – politicians are elected geographically, also it will be more effective if they know where you are from and that they are hearing from a range of people
  • Acknowledge the grief and loss that follows the loss of an infant, but be clear that this Bill has far reaching negative ramifications
  • Information from the campaign (linked above) especially include things that jump out at you personally
  • The Bill could lead to restrictions on behaviour of pregnant women, restrictions on medical care and access to abortion care.

And some substantive points

  • The NSW Bar Association says the Bill is unnecessary and creates a potential conflict of rights if a foetus is defined as a person. The Australian Medical Association and Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have publicly stated that the Bill will make it difficult for doctors to do their job and may lead to criminal charges.
  • The Crimes Act 1900 was amended in 2005 to include “the destruction (other than in the course of a medical procedure) of the foetus of a pregnant woman, whether or not the woman suffers any other harm” in the definition of Greivous Bodily Harm. The 2010 Government appointed review by the Hon. Michael Campbell QC found that this was appropriate and shouldn’t be changed. This offence currently carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years.
  • The Speakman Amendment, which states “For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this section creates a criminal offence in respect of an unborn child in circumstances which, prior to the commencement of the Crimes Amendment (Zoe’s Law) Act 2013, did not constitute a criminal offence in respect of the mother of that unborn child”, is not an effective response to concerns regarding this Bill. This is because unfortunately, abortion remains in the Crimes Act in NSW.

Here is an example 

This is one of the letters written at our working bee recently. Feel free to use it as a template but we encourage you to find your own words if possible.

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Here’s a list of names to write to:

The Hon. John Ajaka

The Hon. Niall Blair

The Hon. Rick Colless

The Hon. Jenny Gardiner

The Hon. Duncan Gay

The Hon. Don Harwin

Mr Scot MacDonald

The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones

The Hon. Sarah Mitchell

The Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane

The Hon. Melinda Pavey

The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps

The Hon. Ernest Wong

The Hon. Catherine Cusack

And the physical address is always

_____ , MLC, Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW, 2000.

And emails can be found here.

Happy writing!

The featured image is from Wim Mulder’s Flickr feed, and can be found here.

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