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A response to Tasmania's Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) bill

Dear Hon. Michelle O'Byrne and the Department of Health and Human Services,

Please reconsider your support for the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) bill. As you are aware, current Tasmanian laws already allow for the termination of pregnancy where it two doctors consider that it would be more difficult for a woman to continue with the pregnancy than to terminate it. Making abortion in the first 24 weeks accessible without any health reason would not promote the health of women or their unborn children.
Please consider the following points:
* This bill fails to promote true choice for women. Those who will not be involved in referring for abortion are penalised, but there are no similar penalties for counselors who fail to fully inform women of their options other than abortion. To truly be about choice, this bill would need to also stipulate penalties for such counselors or clinic workers as well as for any family member or partner involved in pressuring a woman to have an abortion.
* This bill fails to ensure women have true freedom of choice through failing to stipulate the information they must be offered for informed consent to be in effect. For example, will they be informed of the development of their unborn child and all their other options? This bill reduces current protections for women through removing the requirement that they be counseled about their options.
* Later abortions carry with them a greater risk of abortion related grief and trauma, and therefore it is not in the interests of women to treat them like any other medical procedure. Experience in Victoria shows that later abortions increase when physical health requirements for them are removed.
* The facts about the development of the unborn child leave us in no doubt that a death occurs in every abortion, leaving the remaining family members bereaved. Therefore, the law should provide some protection for these vulnerable members of the human family.
* This bill hinders the freedom of choice of health professionals and counselors to refuse to have any involvement in providing abortion access where it is not necessary to save the life of the woman.
* This bill hinders freedom of speech through hindering peaceful protests such as those I have been involved in with my children outside the Victoria St clinic in 2011. I went to these events out of sincere love for those involved in a practice I consider to be damaging. I should have the freedom to continue to do so.

Kind regards,
Sherrin Drew


Introducing William (Bill) Huon Drew

We are thanking God for many answered prayers in the birth of our son William Huon Drew on February 19th at 6pm. The home birth we planned was quick and uncomplicated. Dave and our midwives were a great help, as was the warm birth pool, and Sherrin is recovering more easily than in the past births. Bill weighed 4.15kg and is 55cm long. This picture is of William on his first outing with the family at ten days old. We have been grateful for easier feeding this time as well.

The name we have chosen expresses God's provision to us in people, places and things. We have named him William after his paternal grandfather and maternal great grandfather. Dave's father William turns 70 this year so the timing seems perfect! Sherrin's late grandfather was also named William but was always called Bill. So we have chosen that as his shortened name. We met in the Huon Valley, and Sherrin spent the first six years of her life there. One of Dave's research projects involves ancient Huon pine, and it was also one of Grandad Bill's favourite woods for his many beautiful woodwork projects.

The picture above is of the other children meeting their brother for the first time. Elnathan (3 1/2) and Mercy (2) have been thrilled with their new brother, another answered prayer! They are full of questions about him. Mercy lavishes him with affection and copies his hand movements! They both love to ask questions about him and give kisses.

Here are a couple more pictures. It is a lovely time of year to have a baby and the garden is flourishing! We gave the children special gifts to help them celebrate bring a big brother and sister, including a family of little dolls with a baby and baby furniture.


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