The NSW ProChoice Alliance today launched its NSW abortion decriminalisation campaign in Sydney as peak legal, health and community organisations signalled a commitment to have abortion removed from the NSW Crimes Act and regulated like any other health procedure.
Led by the Women’s Electoral Lobby, the Alliance brings together more than 60 organisations committed to seeing abortion decriminalised in NSW, campaign manager Sinead Canning said.
“We need to take abortion out of the Crimes Act and update these laws that are 119 years old,” Ms Canning said.
“NSW residents who access or provide an abortion risk being jailed for up to a decade. These laws criminalising women and health workers are wholly out of step with public sentiment, and mean access is most difficult for the most vulnerable women in our society.
“We are the only state or territory in the country that has never updated or modernised its abortion legislation. Now is the time to reform abortion laws in NSW.
“70% of Australians believe that women should be able to access abortions readily, and we know that 1 in 4 Australian women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Considering these realities, it is past time that NSW follow the examples of states like Queensland and Victoria by introducing sensible, modern regulation of abortion as a healthcare procedure,” Ms Canning said.
Family Planning NSW and the Human Rights Law Centre are centrally involved in the campaign, and welcomed the launch.
Family Planning NSW Medical Director Dr Deborah Bateson said abortion must be removed from the NSW Crimes Act so health workers can care for patients without fear of prosecution.
“We know this is a healthcare issue and women deserve access to healthcare,” Dr Bateson said.
“Women in NSW deserve to have control of their reproductive choices and certainly shouldn’t be criminalised for accessing healthcare. Abortion should be safe, lawful, accessible and affordable.”
Adrianne Walters, Senior Lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said that the values of 1900 should not control women’s lives in 2019.
“Every day, women in New South Wales are treated as second class citizens when it comes to healthcare by the criminalisation of abortion. The laws defy modern medical practice and are hopelessly out of step with community values and common sense,” said Walters.
“Every single one of us should have the freedom to decide what is right for our bodies and lives. It is time for this to become a reality in New South Wales law.”
Australasian Sexual Health and HIV Nurses Association
Australian Association of Social Workers
Australian College of Nursing
Australian Medical Students Association
Australian Women’s Health Network
Bankstown Women’s Health Centre
Blacktown Women’s Health Centre
Blue Mountains Women’s Health Centre
Central Coast Women’s Health Centre
Children by Choice
Coffs Harbour Women’s Health Centre
Community Legal Centres NSW
Cumberland Women’s Health Centre
Domestic Violence NSW
Emily’s List Australia
Family Planning Alliance Australia
Family Planning and Welfare NT
Family Planning NSW
Family Planning Tasmania
Family Planning Victoria
Human Rights Law Centre
Hunter Women’s Health Centre
Illawarra Women’s Health Centre
International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
Lismore Women’s Health Centre
Liverpool Women’s Health Centre
Marie Stopes Australia
National Foundation for Australian Women
No To Violence
NSW Council of Civil Liberties
NSW Council of Social Services (NCOSS)
NSW Nurses and Midwives Association
NSW Women’s Alliance
Our Bodies Our Choices
Penrith Women’s Health Centre
Public Health Association Australia NSW Branch
Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT
Sexual Health Quarters (Family Planning Western Australia)
SHINE (Family Planning South Australia)
Shoalhaven Women’s Health Centre
Sydney Women’s Counselling Centre
True Relationships and Reproductive Health (Family Planning QLD)
Wagga Women’s Health Centre
Waminda South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation
White Ribbon Australia
Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women's Legal Centre
WILMA Campbelltown Women’s Health Centre
Women’s Abortion Action Campaign
Women’s Centre for Health and Well Being (AlburyWodonga)
Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service NSW
Women’s Electoral Lobby
Women’s Health NSW
Women’s Legal NSW
Young Women’s Christian Association Australia (YWCA)
Michelle Bennett: 0419 100 519