It’s official. The Australian state of Tasmania is a basket case. According to arecent report from CommSec about state economies, it runs last in economic growth, retail spending, equipment investment, construction work, population growth, housing finance and dwelling commencements. The brightest light shines over the unemployment figures -- where it placed second last.
Tasmania stands on the edge of an economic precipice.
But there is one area in which the Labor-Green government under Premier Lara Giddings gets a gold star – suppressing dissent. Politicians who were once arrested for protesting against logging Tasmania’s pristine wilderness are backing arrests for protesting against abortion.
Earlier this month Tasmania’s lower house passed the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill. This bill is said to remove abortion from the criminal code. But it actually retains key provisions criminalizing certain abortions. It allows terminations up to the 16th week of pregnancy with no requirement for women to prove any risk of injury to their physical or mental health. After 16 weeks, two doctors have to certify that continuation of the pregnancy would result in a greater risk to the woman’s health than termination due to “current and future physical, psychological, economic and social circumstances”.
So, basically any circumstances at all, including abortion for sex selection.
Legislation enabling abortion is common enough. But the Tasmanian law could be the first in the world to penalise doctors, counsellors and protesters with draconian fines and even jail sentences if they oppose abortion. Health minister Michelle O’Byrne says that the bill has been modelled on 2008 legislation in the nearby state of Victoria. But she also seems to have been inspired by the peculiar interpretation of democracy invoked by Vladimir Putin when the Russian government jailed the punk rock group Pussy Riot.
Read more at Mercator.Net.