It was with great disappointment I read that Cr Amanda Cohn’s effort to form a safe zone around the Englehardt Street fertility clinic failed on Monday night (‘Protest ban no’, The Border Mail, December 19).
Whilst not a responsibility of local government, the opportunity to eliminate the potential for women attending the clinic to be harmed should have been seized upon.
No one should have to be exposed to any form of harassment, or have their right to confidentiality denied, when accessing medical care.
However, it is because this is not a local government responsibility that some of the criticism levelled toward Cr Darren Cameron is misplaced, and shows the need for the public to understand the nature of abortion law in NSW.
Abortion law is a state government issue, and in NSW we are shackled to the oldest laws in the country, which predate federation.
The Crimes Act (1900) makes abortion illegal in NSW, punishable by five years imprisonment. The same act, written in the Victorian era, is riddled with archaic laws, the bulk of which have been amended or abrogated. However, abortion remains on the list, barely changed since 1900.
NSW Greens MP, Mehreen Faruqi, submitted a bill to have abortion removed from the Crimes Act earlier this year. Every member of the Liberal and National parties present voted against the change, ensuring that abortion remains a criminal act in NSW and denying women the rights they have five minutes down the Hume in Victoria, or a little further north in the ACT.
In 2018 NSW Labor MP, Penny Sharpe, will submit a bill to establish safe zones around fertility clinics in NSW. This will ensure the safety of women accessing medical services in all of NSW, should it succeed.
So it is Greg Aplin, our local NSW MP, that now needs to be asked the questions, as he is the only person in Albury with any legislative power to make the changes necessary. Will he support Sharpe’s bill? Does he believe that women should have access to medical care without harassment?
Cr Cameron should not be the target of the community anger about this issue. Nor should religious people, including myself, who would gladly give up the right to pray in public, if it facilitates safety for women accessing medical care.
Hold Greg Aplin to account on the issue. Hold Cr Kevin Mack, who has state parliament aspirations and voted against Cr Cohn’s motion, to account. They must state what their views are and why.
NSW Labor holds that abortion legislation is a matter of conscience, so as difficult as it is for me to accept, those that want abortion to remain a criminal act are entitled to their view.
However, it is the responsibility of all elected officials to explain their views. Let’s ask the people that are responsible.
Dr Christian Kunde, Country Labor Albury-Lavington branch
Sunny days ahead
The proposed solar energy set up at Mulwala (‘Solar farm backing sought’, The Border Mail, December 17) is a plan that sets our region on good path and makes us part of new and innovative thinking .
The compost plan is gone and a far better plan for the shire is on the table in the solar plant .
Let’s hope a path to get it approved can be found .