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Mandatory cooling-off period insulting to women.



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DEMOCRATS MEDIA THURSDAY 13 OCTOBER 2005

SENATOR LYN ALLISON SENATOR NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS LEADER DEMOCRATS STATUS OF WOMEN SPOKESPERSON

MANDATORY COOLING-OFF PERIOD INSULTING TO WOMEN The Australian Democrats have labelled the Victorian Government’s plans to mandate 48-hour cooling off periods for late-term abortions as “insulting” and “damaging” to women.

Democrats Leader, Senator Lyn Allison said the State Government’s plan implies women seeking a late termination have not thoroughly considered their decision.

“Women do not make the decision to terminate a pregnancy lightly,” Senator Allison said. “Enforcing an extended cooling-off period is simply making a difficult decision immeasurably more painful. No other medical procedure forces women to wait after giving informed consent, why should abortion be any different?”

“There is no medical or psychological justification for a cooling-off period and this can only be assumed to be coercion to dissuade women from their chosen course of action.”

Senator Allison said if the Victorian State Government was serious about protecting women, it would introduce the “bubble zone” legislation around clinics which provide termination procedures.

“Women are being bullied and harassed when entering these clinics, yet the Victorian Government has the power to stop this intimidation and emotional abuse. Sadly the option of protecting women is being overlooked in favour of further restricting women’s choices.”

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, Democrats’ Status of Women spokesperson, said:

"This is a patronising measure and is clearly being introduced as a sop to the conservative male legislators who keep dipping their toes in this debate.”

"What we need in this debate is greater respect for women's choices and reproductive rights - particularly from some conservative male politicians who seem hell-bent on winding back the clock.”

"The decision to have an abortion should be made between the woman concerned, her doctor, and if appropriate, her partner or family. Politicians should keep their hands off women's bodies," Senator Stott Despoja said.

Media contact for Senator Allison: Katrina McGrath - 0408 056 167

Media contact for Senator Stott Despoja: Raina Hunter - 0417 085 260