Jump a little higher

This is where the public ownership of women’s reproductive capacities gets you: a girl of 12 in Queensland had to jump through hoops for weeks to get the abortion she wanted all along. If she hadn’t jumped correctly apparently they would have said no – and a girl of 12 would have been forced to push out a baby she didn’t want to push out.

A 12-year-old Australian girl with a history of suicide attempts was forced to seek a judge’s approval to end an unwanted pregnancy under strict abortion laws.

The girl gained a Queensland supreme court order allowing her to have an abortion after a month dealing with a string of medical, mental health and child safety professionals, who all found her decision as being in her best interests.

Which implies that they could have found the opposite: that being forced to push out a baby against her will would be in her best interests. How could that ever be in her best interests? So that she learns early and thoroughly that she has no rights, because she’s a female? Is it in girls’ best interests to get that over with quickly, so that they won’t bruise themselves in the struggle?

A psychiatrist and her parents held concerns that Q was at real risk of further self-harm or suicidal behaviour if forced to carry a child to birth. McMeekin was satisfied Q had independently arrived at her decision to end her pregnancy, a conviction she held for more than a month while having consultations with a general practitioner, a social worker, two obstetricians and a psychiatrist.

“She has no wish to be a mother,” McMeekin said. “Unsurprisingly, she feels that she is not fitted for that task.”

However, McMeekin said her consent alone did not make the abortion lawful under Queensland’s criminal code, which required it to be “authorised or justified by law”.

Why should suicide and self-harm be the standard? Why shouldn’t just not wanting to be reason enough?

McMeekin said an obstetrician advising Q said the “risks of continuing the pregnancy (some of which were potentially life threatening) ‘far outweigh’ the risks involved in terminating”.

“He also commented that there were psycho-social implications of having a child at the age of 12, with a ‘lifelong burden, which is likely to affect mental health’,” the judge said.

The child safety department, which had earlier involvement with the family, also supported the abortion.

That applies to all women and girls, of course. Pregnancy is more risky than early abortion, and having a child definitely adds to the work load. It’s just more so for a child of 12.

Larissa Waters, a federal Greens senator, said the striking out of Queensland’s “archaic, harmful laws that treat abortion as a crime in some circumstances… is long overdue”.

“I warmly welcome Mr Pyne moving to update the law so that it is in line with modern values that trust and empower women to make decisions about their own bodies,” she said.

“Nearly a third of women will seek an abortion over their lifetime and they must not be made to feel like criminals for making their own decisions about their own bodies.”

Just as if women were human beings.

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