The topic of Abortion has proven to be divisive as it carries stigma, dogmas of faith, and trauma for many families and women in particular.
Per the Australian Values Party’s Workforce Policy, all AVP elected representatives are able to make their own decisions when voting in Parliament, however they must engage in the AVP planning and decision making process, which includes assessing all policies against the Australian Values Statement.
The AVP maintains a proactive approach to all areas of health and welfare, we will work to increase easy access to education on safe sex practices, pregnancy and termination options to ensure that these decisions are well informed and greater prevention is made possible. This education will also include the responsibility of parenthood and the requirements to provide a safe and loving environment for all people. Refer to our Australian Community Development Opportunity Policy (ACDOP) for how we plan to achieve this.
In considering our approach to an ‘Abortion Policy’ I, Heston Russell, have decided to make the ‘Captain’s Call’ and personally develop this policy statement - and stand personally responsible for this stated policy approach.
I have spoken with mothers who support abortion, oppose abortion or are indifferent to the topic completely. I have spoken with mothers who have had abortions because they were unable to support having a child at that point in their life. Some of these mothers have told me how they turned to community groups, faith groups and their own families to search for answers, but the eventual decision came down to their judgement, including the difficult realities of being able to provide for and protect a child. I have also spoken with women, and men, who consider abortion as another means of contraception. I have spoken with women who have had an abortion and seen the trauma they feel and often the shame that they carry. Shame that is often projected by the personal beliefs of others or perpetuated by community groups within our society.
Drawing on these conversations, I have concluded that we need to have many more conversations, as a person, party and society in order to bring greater balance, compassion and understanding to this topic. We also need to conduct more reflection on why we, as a society, are willing to have these conversations of morality left to our levels of government to decide. Every family and personal circumstance within our society is unique and carries its own considerations that create responsibilities beyond the full understanding of any government official or policy. We must therefore work to approach such topics pragmatically, appreciating the variety of circumstances and complexities therein, before readily adopting approaches based on ideology, dogma or judgment.
As per our process for policy development and review, I have specifically drawn on the following Australian Values to support my considerations:
- Respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual, including personal choice and the freedom to make your own health decisions.
- Equality of opportunity for all people, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, race or national or ethnic origin.
- Parliamentary democracy, whereby our laws are determined by parliaments elected by the people, those laws being paramount and overriding any other inconsistent religious or secular “laws”.
- A ‘fair go for all’, that embraces mutual respect, tolerance and compassion for those in need.
The following are key concerns that have been raised during this consultation process and are important to help better define the issues to be addressed through any potential policy or political position.
- Sides of the “abortion argument” are divided between “pro-life” and “pro-choice” however the common understand and acceptance of the key issues and concerns are not shared.
- Some women believe that they are responsible for their own bodies at all times, including when pregnant, and should be free to make their own decisions.
- Other women believe that any viable pregnancy should result in the birth of the child and be protected against abortion regardless of the decisions of the mother.
- Some Australians view abortion as a crime, primarily based upon their own religious beliefs.
- There are circumstances where an abortion is necessary due to medical complications.
- Some Australians view abortion as a ‘failsafe’ means of contraception.
- Some Australians believe that there should be a ‘time limit’ on abortions based upon the gestation period up until the pregnancy could successfully deliver a child that could be maintained on natural or medically assisted life support. The majority of discussions focus on this being the third trimester.
- Legislation that allows or may potentially allow ‘full-term abortions’ - where a child that could otherwise be born and survive, thanks to the benefits of modern medical science, is instead aborted.
- Legislation that allows or may potentially allow ‘sex-selective abortions’ - where an abortion chosen based on not wanting to have a child of a certain sex.
- Pregnancies that result from a woman being raped are viewed with extreme conflict by opposing sides of the ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ argument.
- Legislation that allows or may potentially allow a fetus or baby that has left the womb as a result of an abortion procedure being delivered with a heartbeat and is breathing on its own after delivery to be terminated.
- Legislation that allows or may potentially allow a fetus or baby that is delivered with a heartbeat and is unable to breath on its own without medical intervention, then the life of the fetus or baby is said to be terminated.
- A lack of safe abortion access and care within state public health and regional areas resulting in unsafe abortion practices.
- Legislation in order to deny anyone the ability to make a profit from abortion practices.
- Legislation in order to deny anyone the ability to make a profit from aborted fetus, organs or cells.
- Particular concerns have been raised over the above points 14 & 15 in reference to the former USA ‘Family Planning’ practices.
- Whether abortions should be funded by any government (taxpayer) monies.
- The likely situation where a woman is seeking an abortion because she is unable to financially support having a child, and is also unable to afford an abortion.
- Women choosing unsafe abortion methods due to government legislation or restrictions otherwise.
- Women have experienced the need to terminate at full term pregnancy because of Domestic Violence.
- Adoption and foster care systems reforms are needed in Australia in order to better encourage some women to consider these as more viable options instead of an abortion.
I have spoken with the Australian Values Party Candidate Team for the 2022 Federal election and proposed the following AVP Vision Statement to form the focus of our subsequent consultation, policy development considerations and actions moving forward.
The AVP is committed to working towards an Australian Society where:
- Conversations about abortion and adoption are approached with compassion, come from more understanding, and carry less shame and stigma.
- All Australia are raised to be aware of their options and the support available to them regarding sexual health and pregnancy.
- Abortion is not seen as a form of contraception.
- All Australians know where they can go to seek information and support for family topics including sexual health, pregnancy, adoption and abortion. Including access to religious support services or completely removed from any religious involvement or influence.
- Women who fall unexpectedly pregnant can be supported with options including pathways to provide safe and supported adoption of their child to a loving family.
- Secular, government funded, counselling services are available to all Australians and support all final decisions on abortion.
- Safe abortion procedures, carried out by authorised health professionals, are available to all Australians at individual, not government, expense.
- Provisions are developed to address the unique circumstances where a woman is unable to financially afford a pregnancy, including circumstances involving domestic violence.
- Australians are confident to have families and grow the population of our country with greater support to parents and families provided at the local community and government levels of our society
- Parents and extended family members are encouraged and supported to spend more time raising and educating their children.
- Australians are more educated, empowered, confident and compassionate towards making their own decisions of morality for their own lives and families, free from external influence or government intervention.
Through this vision statement, the Australian Values Party seeks to achieve a position of ‘Informed Choice’ for women, families and our wider society as a whole. We are seeking to provide a system that develops personal responsibility and individual accountability that will form the baseline of strong and supported social morality.
We, as a Candidate Team, have identified that there is so much more work that needs to be done to develop better ‘up-stream’ education and support for women before they are pregnant, if/when they become pregnant and afterwards, including this being extended to their families and community networks. We must also commit great focus towards better understanding the current complexities and future opportunities to improve the adoption process and support systems within Australia.
The Australian Values Party supports the following reforms to legislation:
- Implement counselling and other safeguards - Families who may be considering an abortion must be provided government funded counselling and compassionate assistance. This must also include post care and counselling services given the likely trauma that is often known to develop post such a decision and procedure.
- Introduce medical care for babies born during an abortion - Neonatal care must be provided to babies born during an abortion, as would be given to any other child born at the same stage of pregnancy and in the same medical condition.
- Introduce anaesthetised abortion - Current procedures across Australia only offer the mother anaesthetic when performing a surgical abortion.
- Support doctor’s full right to a full conscientious objection to abortion.
- Mandate data reporting - Current legislation fails to report abortion rates in some states.
- Introduce legislation to deny anyone the ability to make a profit from abortion practices.
- Introduce legislation to deny anyone the ability to make a profit from aborted fetus, organs or cells.
The Australian Values Party is campaigning to secure the balance of power within parliament. In this capacity we will have the ability to influence all areas of policy requiring our support for majority decision. We are dedicated to approaching all policies and conversations pragmatically and with compassion for all those involved, per our Australian Values Statement.
The AVP will continue to work with individuals, community groups and the respective layers of government to improve safe medical care for all Australians and further develop this policy approach.
Policies serving Australians
The purpose of the Australian Values Party is to promote a government with a sense of responsibility and accountability to the Australian people, to protect the Australian values and promote the welfare of our Australian people.