The criminalisation of abortion ends in Queensland: spotlight turns to SA and NSW

The criminalisation of abortion ends in Queensland: spotlight turns to SA and NSW

Queensland women will finally have the freedom to decide what is right for their bodies with the Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018 coming into force today.

From today, abortion will no longer be a crime. Any person who is pregnant will now have control over determining whether an abortion is right for them up to 22 weeks pregnancy. Thereafter, two doctors will need to consider whether an abortion is appropriate.

Safe access zones around abortion clinics also become law today. Similar laws in Victoria and New South Wales have been critical in stopping the harassment and abuse of women trying to see their doctor at reproductive health clinics.

Related news: Experts launch public call for NSW abortion reform

Adrianne Walters, Senior Lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre said:

“Every single one of us should have the freedom to control our bodies and decide what is right for our lives. It’s fantastic to see this become a reality in Queensland for the many women each year who need to consider an abortion. We congratulate the Queensland Government for driving this critical reform,” said Walters.

“These vital reforms in Queensland bring into sharp focus just how outdated and harmful criminal abortion laws are in other parts of Australia, particularly New South Wales and South Australia,” said Walters.

South Australia’s criminal abortion laws will come under the spotlight next week, with a bill to reform the state’s outdated abortion laws being introduced into Parliament on Wednesday.

“It’s outrageous that in 2018, women’s access to a safe medical procedure is still controlled by criminal laws in South Australia. It is time for South Australian politicians to demonstrate their respect for women’s health and equality, and support the decriminalisation of abortion,” said Walters.

New South Wales has the most archaic laws in Australia – abortion is criminalised by laws written 118 years ago. While the New South Wales Labor Party has committed to decriminalising abortion, the Government has been silent.

“Every day, women in New South Wales and South Australia are treated as second class citizens when it comes to accessing healthcare because of the criminalisation of abortion. These laws are hopelessly out of step with modern community values, medical practice and common sense,” said Walters. 

For interviews call:

Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519