On Wednesday, 26 August 1998, Independent MLA Paul Osborne introduced the Health Regulation (Abortions) Bill 1998 into the ACT Legislative Assembly.
The Association welcomed the Bill as it would restrict the number of abortions and provide for a number of sensible safeguards on the practice of abortion.
The Bill ensured that:
- women must give informed consent before an abortion is allowed;
- women under 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian’s consent;
- there be a cooling-off period of three days after consent is given;
- women’s privacy will be protected;
- abortions will be allowed under certain circumstances if the unborn child is no more than 12 weeks gestation;
- babies old enough to be born alive will be allowed to live;
- medical staff cannot be intimidated or harassed for refusing to perform or assist with an abortion procedure; and
- there will be a yearly statistical report on abortions carried out in the ACT.
Although opposition to the restrictive aspects of the Bill was expected, perhaps the most surprising aspect of the reaction to the Bill was the opposition to the information and cooling-off provisions.