YOU SAY: In Crimes Act but abortion is not always ‘unlawful’

Dr Christian Kunde of the Country Labor Albury (Lavington branch) is right to challenge member for Albury Greg Aplin when it comes to exclusion zones (‘Why Aplin simply must state view on abortion issue’, The Border Mail, December 21).

So far three jurisdictions (Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT) have enacted laws to provide for exclusion zones around clinics offering services to women including terminations. It is about time NSW stepped up to the plate to protect the privacy of women. However I must correct him on one matter.

He states “The Crimes Act (1900) makes abortion illegal in NSW”. Sections 82, 83 and 84 state that whoever unlawfully administers any drug or noxious thing or unlawfully uses an instrument or other means with the intent to procure a miscarriage shall be liable to imprisonment …”

District Court Judge Levine noted that the use of the word ‘unlawful’ envisages circumstances in which the act must be lawful. 

HOT TOPIC: A big crowd turned out last week to see Albury Council vote 6-3 against enforcing an exclusion zone around the Englehardt Street clinic.

HOT TOPIC: A big crowd turned out last week to see Albury Council vote 6-3 against enforcing an exclusion zone around the Englehardt Street clinic.

He accepted the principle applied in R v Davidson (1969) and held that if operations to terminate pregnancies were skilfully performed by qualified medical practitioners with the woman’s consent, the operation would be lawful provided the accused:

- “had an honest belief on reasonable grounds that what they did was necessary to preserve the women involved from serious danger to their life, or physical or mental health, which the continuation of the pregnancy would entail, not merely the normal dangers of pregnancy and childbirth; and that in the circumstances the danger of the operation was not out of proportion to the danger intended to be averted.”

He further said “… such a conscientious belief on reasonable ground would have to be negatived before an offence ... could be proved.”

Wald (R v Wald 1971) expanded the relevant grounds that may cause a serious threat to the physical or mental health of the woman to include social and economic factors. So it is true that abortion is in the Crimes Act (1900) but it is not automatically an offence to procure an abortion.

David Thurley, Lavington

Drug crisis out of control

Victoria’s drugs crisis is ruining lives.

New figures show more and more Victorians are falling victim to the drugs scourge, with Victoria recording the highest rate of heroin use in Australia.

The Andrews Labor Government thinks a drug injecting room in Richmond will fix Victoria’s drugs crisis, but this does nothing to address problems with drug crime and access to rehabilitation.

A drug injecting room will not stop the flood of heroin coming into Victoria and will not help the many Victorians desperate get off the drug but having to wait up to a year for a rehab bed.

Because of Labor’s lack of action we are now in the grips of a drugs crisis that is ruining lives and families.

Victorians have a choice at the next election. More of the same Labor neglect or a Liberal-Nationals government focused on tackling the drug epidemic with targeted education, better access to drug treatment and bringing down the drug kingpins that prey on vulnerable people in our community.

Emma Kealy, shadow minister for Mental Health

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