A Cairns couple charged over a home abortion chose to terminate a pregnancy because they were not ready for a child, a court has heard.
Tegan Simone Leach, 21, entered a plea of not guilty to one count of procuring her own abortion at the beginning of her trial in Cairns District Court today.
Her partner Sergie Brennan, 22, pleaded not guilty to a charge of supplying a drug to procure an abortion.
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Prosecutor Michael Byrne said the case was based on a simple set of facts - that Brennan illegally provided Leach with the abortion drugs RU486 and Misoprostol and she took them knowingly.
The court heard the matter came to the attention of police when officers were searching the couple’s Cairns home on another matter in February 2009.
Mr Byrne said officers found empty blister packets, which the couple identified as the packaging of abortion drugs.
In police interviews on March 30, Leach said she had decided to have an abortion in late 2008 after learning she was pregnant because she did not feel ready to have a baby.
Brennan, in a separate interview, said the couple ‘‘wanted the best’’ for their child and did not feel they were in a position then to provide the necessary support.
They had decided against surgical termination because they did not like the process involved and preferred to use the abortion drugs.
The court heard Brennan had obtained the drugs from his sister in the Ukraine and had believed the drugs were legal because they had made it through Australian customs.
Mr Byrne said Misoprostol and RU486 were legally available, though the latter drug was heavily restricted, with only a small number of practitioners able to prescribe them.
He said under Queensland law procuring an abortion was illegal unless the pregnancy posed a threat to the woman’s life or her physical or mental health.
‘‘There is no evidence of a necessity that an abortion needed to be carried out to preserve the life or the physical or mental health of Tegan Leach,’’ he said.
The matter is being heard before a panel of 12 jurors, comprised of 8 women and four men.
Two women initially selected as jurors were excused from the trial after telling Judge William Everson they did not believe they could be impartial.
The couple is believed to be the first to be charged with procuring an abortion in Queensland’s history.
Pro-choice advocates have established a vigil outside the Cairns Court to support the couple and call for abortion to be decriminalised in the state.
The trial is expected to last two days.
Queensland - South of the Southern Land