The Women’s Electoral Lobby Australia (WEL) is deeply concerned and disappointed by Premier Mike Baird’s calls for the Crimes Amendment (Zoe’s Law) Bill No. 2 2013 to be debated in the NSW Upper House.

‘This Bill is an unnecessary and harmful change to the NSW Crimes Act and should not be passed,” said WEL Australia Chair Melanie Fernandez.

Ms Fernandez said, “it is a tragedy when any woman loses a foetus in an accident or violent crime. However, the current statutory framework has adequate provisions to deal with these offences. NSW does not require additional offences regarding foetuses.

“Conferring personhood on a foetus, whilst still contained within the mother’s body, is problematic under the law. It creates two separate legal entities whilst their well being is intertwined. There should absolutely be consequences for any harm done to a foetus; but we should never have a situation where the human rights of a foetus come into conflict with a woman’s human rights.

“To introduce a legislative definition of prenatal personhood is a major departure from our current legal position in NSW. There is no similar statute under any Australian law.

“In other jurisdictions, such as the United States, similar legislation has been used to open the door to restrict access to abortion and to criminalise pregnant women for engaging in certain behaviours that have been deemed to be acting contrary to the interests of the ‘person’ they are carrying,” said Ms Fernandez.

“Women of NSW are deeply concerned about this Bill and have broadly spoken out against it.

“There is overwhelming opposition to this Bill from key expert bodies in the medical and legal community, along with the women’s sector; including the NSW Bar Association, the NSW Law Society, and the Australian Medical Association.

“The Bill was first introduced by the Reverend Fred Nile and is supported by the Attorney-General and former president of NSW Right to Life, Greg Smith. The Bill remains a Trojan Horse for Reverend Nile to run an anti-choice agenda in NSW.”

Contact: Melanie Fernandez, Chair Women’s Electoral Lobby Australia 0402 334 286

Rachael Lord


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