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Want an abortion in an illegal state? Go to jail for three years!

September 16, 2009

Imagine if you are a young woman (say, 19 years old) from Queensland in Australia (northeastern state), where abortion is illegal. Imagine if you and your boyfriend accidentally got pregnant, and made the conscious decision to terminate the pregnancy. How do you terminate the pregnancy?

In Australia, the legality of abortion varies from state to state. According to the Queensland Criminal code, a 100 year-old law, abortion is illegal in that state. That’s why when Tegan Leach, a resident of Queensland, fell pregnant, she acquired RU-486 (a.k.a. the Abortion Pill) from Ukraine. While this pill is legal in Queensland, it is only prescribed to women in certain situations (if her health is at risk). The police found the contraband drugs while searching through her home for other reasons, and now she and her boyfriend, Sergie Brennan, face up to three years in jail because of the charge.

Many people (including myself) are surprised of the charges—this is the first case in 50 years where a woman has been charged for inducing an abortion on herself. While these laws are not to be ignored in talking about this case, it is interesting “how her case reveals the systematic way that anti-abortion laws and advocates work to circumscribe the choices of all women, by creating an atmosphere of terror,” Elle at Shakesville says (my emphasis added), “Since Leach’s case came to light: Their home has been firebombed. Her boyfriend’s car has been vandalized. They have had to go into hiding. Doctors have stopped prescribing RU-486 (and many of them were hesitant to do so before her case, given the ambiguity surrounding whether or not it should be administered).”

This is truly unfortunate, not only for Tegan and Sergie, but all of those other couples who choose to terminate a pregnancy—why should someone be prosecuted for making a personal decision about her body?

While the case continues in Australia, more anti-abortion cases continue to ensue (such as this one) in the United States, where (Thank God Roe v. Wade) abortion is still legal.

3 Comments
  1. michelle permalink
    September 16, 2009 6:00 pm

    She “fell” pregnant? Makes it sound like she caught a cold, unbeknownst to her (and totally uncaused by her)…how convenient. And then you ask why should someone be prosecuted for making a personal decision about her body? Well, i guess because SHE gets to live but the BABY doesn’t! What always amazes me is how feminists think freeing up women to be used and abused is really freeing…I have teenage girls and it’s just expected you’ll sleep with someone in high school or college…oh yeah, and you get to pay for the date too. Way to go, losers!

    • September 17, 2009 9:37 am

      Your thoughts are unclear so please explain—what do you mean by “What amazes me is how feminists think freeing up women to be used and abused is really freeing…”?

      As sexgenderbody says below, if you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one. But you (and the government) have no right to tell others (including myself) what to do with my body.

      It’s interesting to use this case as an example of what could potentially happen in the U.S. if abortion were made illegal. First of all, it would still happen (duh)—just it wouldn’t be as safe, and second of all, when asked conservatives and some Republicans about what should the consequences be if someone is caught having an abortion, many look dumbfounded and don’t know what to say (see more about this here). Because really, should women go to jail for getting an abortion?

  2. September 16, 2009 9:14 pm

    I’ve been watching this story develop for a while now. I think you have settled in on the very dangerous hypocrisy that underlies many alleged “pro-life” individuals – they are all too comfortable with acts of violence, invasion of liberty, incarceration
    – dictatorial enforcement of their religious views upon absolutely everyone else
    – the inability to exist alongside opposing views. in fact, on this point they often claim that they are being ‘oppressed’ because someone else is allowed to make different choices
    – don’t even get me started on how some individuals can be ‘pro-life’ for a zygote and simultaneously be in favor or dropping napalm on a village of people that pray do a different god or denying education funding / health care to the masses of children living in poverty in their own cities and towns.

    abortion is a personal choice: don’t want one? don’t get one. simple.

    and if anyone else spouts off with a need to honor their god, I say – you honor your god with your body and stay well clear of me.

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