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Smith Slams Medical Associations

Media statement

For immediate release

Monday, 13 September 2004

Smith slams medical associations

United Future justice spokesperson, Murray Smith, has strongly criticized the objections from the GP and Medical Associations to informing parents of the fact when their young daughters fall pregnant.

“Those objections would hold more credibility if the medical profession could be trusted to ensure that the abortion laws were upheld instead of flagrantly breaching their own codes of ethics by turning a blind eye to the abortion on request provided by some of their members,” said Mr Smith.

“The equivalent of 1000 New Entrant classes are being aborted every year and the medical profession is doing nothing to reduce this.”

Mr Smith said that United Future was totally in favour of the right of parents to know what is going on with their young teenagers' health and would strongly support a suitable amendment to the Care of Children Bill to ensure that occurred.

“One only needs to look at the totally reprehensible situation that arose a few weeks ago when a girl had been raped and contracted a sexually-transmitted disease, but the parents were not informed by the school until the girl's serious emotional and physical condition months later led to the parents’ deciding to withdraw her from the school.

“That instance showed that counsellors and doctors were simply not in a position to look after the long term interests of young people: their parents were,” Mr Smith said.

“The fact that the police weren't told either showed that the claim of patient confidentiality was being grossly abused by the counselling and medical professions.”

Mr Smith said it was also totally disingenuous for the medical bodies to suggest that a backstreet abortion industry would 'spring up' overnight because a very small number of teenagers wanted to hide their pregnancies from their parents.

“Only 1.7% of girls under the age of 16 had abortions in 2002 – the last year for which figures are available - and it is inconceivable that more than a very few of those would have had a good reason not to tell either of their parents about their situation. It is a fundamental rule that you don't make laws on the basis of exceptions,” Mr Smith said.

Ends

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