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    The Push To Decriminalise Abortion In Queensland Has Taken A Step Backwards

    "The Australian Christian Lobby have a very loud voice and influence how politicians vote."

    A parliamentary inquiry into pregnancy terminations in Queensland has rejected a bill introduced by Cairns MP Rob Pyne to take abortion out of the state's criminal code.

    Rob Pyne/Facebook

    The Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee held public hearings across the state and received more than 1,400 submissions from concerned individuals, religious MPs and passionate healthcare professionals.

    "The committee was unable to support the bill as it failed to address a number of important policy issues and to achieve a number of its own stated objectives," committee chair Leanne Linard MP wrote in the report.

    But Pyne believes a second bill, which he introduced this month, will address the concerns of the committee. "Most of the reasons [the committee] has given for not supporting the first bill are in the subsequent amendment ," Pyne said.

    The amended bill requires abortions after 24 weeks’ gestation to be approved by two doctors.

    Dan Peled / AAP

    Legislating gestational limits, as has been done in other states where abortion is no longer a crime, would silence a scare campaign by Queensland's religious community about late term abortions, he said.

    "The Australian Christian Lobby have a very loud voice and influence how politicians vote even though I don't think they represent the majority of Christians."

    "People in obstetrics say that healthy [later term] foetuses are not aborted but if gestational limits will give MPs the confidence they need to come on board with the bill then that is the compromise."

    Mehreen Faruqi/Twitter / Via Twitter: @MehreenFaruqi

    Rob Pyne with NSW MP Mehreen Faruqi and other pro-choice advocates.

    The committee's final report acknowledged widespread community support for decriminalising the procedure.

    The 155-page report dispelled misconceptions about abortion, ruling there was "no established causal relationship between abortion and mental health outcomes" and that a "very small number" of abortions occurred in Australia beyond 20 weeks gestation and usually due to "significant foetal abnormalities".

    Gina Rushton is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

    Contact Gina Rushton at gina.rushton@buzzfeed.com.

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