This Is The Single Biggest Myth About Abortion In Australia – BuzzFeed News


In Australia’s sunshine state of Queensland, where abortion
is still a crime, two billboards erected by Christian lobby
group Cherish Life illustrate a common misconception about
abortion.

In Australia's sunshine state of Queensland, where abortion is still a crime, two billboards erected by Christian lobby group Cherish Life illustrate a common misconception about abortion.

View this image ›

Emily Smith/ARN

ID: 9397037


The billboards feature a baby, reaffirming the myth that later
term abortions are common or make up a statistically
significant portion of terminations in Australia.

A later term abortion is one performed at or after 24 weeks
gestation.

It’s difficult to get up to date statistics on abortion in
Australia, but according to the most recent figures from the

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, just 0.7% of
abortions were carried out at or after 20 weeks. Most (94.6%)
of abortions in Australia take place before 13 weeks of
gestation.

The first 12 weeks of pregnancy are known as the “first
trimester”.

The first 12 weeks of pregnancy are known as the "first trimester".

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Abortion pro-choice supporters
rally outside the Queensland Parliament in Brisbane,
Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Dan
Peled / AAPIMAGE

ID: 9396942

Abortion is performed from six weeks gestation, when an embryo
is the size of a lentil. At the end of the first trimester, an
embryo is the size of a small apricot.

So an accurate, but less emotive, billboard would have featured
a depiction of what most Australian women are aborting in the
first trimester of a pregnancy: a tiny embryo between the size
of a lentil and an apricot.

Unlike in most other Australian states, abortion is only lawful
in Queensland if performed to “prevent serious danger to the
woman’s physical or mental health”.

There’s currently an ongoing inquiry into terminations
before a bill to decriminalise abortion is debated in the
state’s parliament.

There's currently an ongoing inquiry into terminations before a bill to decriminalise abortion is debated in the state's parliament.

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Abortion pro-choice supporters
rally outside the Queensland Parliament in Brisbane,
Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Dan
Peled / AAPIMAGE

ID: 9396999

Witnesses from the state’s health department, who last month
appeared before the inquiry, said there were 120 terminations
performed at or over 20 weeks gestation in 2015 statewide, and
that the majority of abortions would have been performed before
22 weeks.

When asked what the “latest late term abortion” was that
had occurred in the state, Queensland Health’s Statewide
Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Network chair, Associate
Professor Dr Rebecca Kimble, said it tended to be at 22 weeks.

“But then we have had to have terminations – and we are talking
really rare situations – where continuation of the pregnancy of
an undiagnosed cardiac condition in the mother, for instance,
may require termination of pregnancy beyond 22 weeks because
continuation would kill the mother,” Kimble said.

“We really are talking very, very small numbers – one or
two a year if even that.”

"We really are talking very, very small numbers – one or two a year if even that."

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Medical care

Byryo / Getty Images

ID: 9397101

The state’s pro-choice counselling service, Children By Choice,
said second trimester abortions were rare.

Most occurred because the pregnancy was wanted but the parents
had received a devastating foetal diagnosis or maternal health
complication or the patient lived in rural and remote areas of
Queensland and had experienced long delays accessing an
abortion provider.

Other reasons were that the patient was under 14 years of age
and hadn’t recognised the pregnancy earlier or lived with “high
levels of violence and control” and had been unable to seek
support earlier without their partner knowing.



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