Taken from the Victorian Law Reform Commission Website.
The government has given the commission terms of reference to develop legislative options for abortion decriminalisation and asked the commission to report back by 28 March 2008.
People who want to make a submission to the project should do so by Friday 9 November 2007.
A brief Information Paper about the state of the law in Victoria and other Australian jurisdictions has been posed to this website and includes discussion questions for consideration in submissions.
I have every intention of making a submission. I have no idea what it will say yet, but I want to say something. I’m also going to contact my local politicians on as many sides of government as I can. I encourage Australians reading this post to do likewise – the women in particular. Not that I won’t be encouraging my male friends to get writing about this, because you can be sure I will (it must be added that my husband and other male friends are bloody excellent feminists, which is one of the reasons I love them), but you know, this issue does affect women first and foremost. It is about our bodies and about our health (as well as being about all sorts of other things). We have a particularly personal interest in this debate.
We owe it to ourselves and to the world to make sure we are active and visible in working for the issues that affect us.
(and that statement has application well beyond feminism and reproductive rights)
Here’s the first part of my potted summary of the Senate debate on the TGA reform. This post is very long, but not as long as the three Senate Hansards (transcripts of parliamentary debates) that I waded through in order to collect this information. I’ll work on one for the House of Representatives during the next week, if I have the energy… I make no promises though – I’ve spent nearly 8 hours on this so far.
So approval of RU-486 is now in the hands of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, not the Health Minister. Which I think is a marvellous thing.
Perhaps even more wonderful to me is the way that the majority of women front and backbenchers, including women from all five marjor political parties, united regardless of party lines to present and pass this bill. And I hear they intend to continue to work together on other issues relevant to women, although I am yet to track down a source for this pleasing story.
Anyway. Having bombarded my politicians on occasion with many, many emails and letters, I would now like to write and thank the women and men who voted to make RU-486 a medical, not a political, issue.
If necessary, I will read all of Hansard for the last week and make a list – but if anyone already has a list, please let me know.
In the meantime, Sharman Stone (Liberal), Lyn Allison (Democrat), Fiona Nash (National), Claire Moore (Labour) and Judith Troeth (Liberal) – thank you for your co-sponsorship of the bill.
And Kerry Nettle (Greens) and Julia Gillard (Labour) thank you for speaking in its favour.
I know there are lots more, but these were the people I found most easily – I’ll add to this list once I’ve had a good look through Hansard.
Just posting a link to this site, which may be of interest to some people on my reading this: http://www.reproductivechoiceaustralia.org.au/take-action.htm
There is a call for the 81% of Australians who support a woman’s right to choose* to make their views known by contacting appropriate MPs. This is in response to Senator Ron Boswell, who has more or less called for those who are anti-abortion to show their support so that he can introduce a Private Member’s Bill that would restrict access to abortion.
Among other things it asks readers to send a ‘short and respectful’ email to the Prime Minister. I’ve just done so – I managed respectful, but didn’t quite hit ‘short’, particularly once I found myself listing all the very useful things he could do to really reduce the abortion rate in this country (more family-friendly work policies, better social and financial supports for parents, particularly parents of children with a disability, funding medical research into the prevention and therapy – and earlier prenatal diagnosis – of genetic disorders…).
Anyway, there it is. Read it, if you are interested, and act if your conscience dictates it.
*Has anyone else noticed that when you say ‘a woman’s right to choose’ everyone knows exactly which choice is being referred to, as though we had no other things we might choose to do or not to do with our lives?