Abortion no longer a crime in NSW

Abortion no longer a crime in NSW

NSW Parliament has passed historic laws today decriminalising abortion. Women in NSW will finally have the freedom to decide what is right for their bodies without fear of criminal prosecution.

Any person who is pregnant will now have control over determining whether an abortion is right for them up to 22 weeks pregnancy in consultation with their doctor. Thereafter, two doctors will need to consider whether an abortion is appropriate.

Edwina MacDonald, Sydney Legal Director at the Human Rights Law Centre welcomed the reforms:

“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 New South Wales for the many women each year who need to consider an abortion. This reform is a massive step forward for women’s health and equality in New South Wales.” 

“We are grateful to the countless women who have been fighting for this landmark reform for decades. It is a critical reform, supported by 77 per cent of people in NSW, which will see abortion finally treated as a healthcare matter rather than a crime.”

Adrianne Walters, a Senior Lawyer at Human Rights Law Centre, commended the cross-party approach to the legislation. 

“Politicians from across the floor have shown fantastic leadership to ensure this new law promotes women’s reproductive freedom. We thank the co-sponsors of the Bill for their steadfast commitment and for ensuring that numerous amendments designed to frustrate women’s access to reproductive healthcare didn’t pass.”

“We are disappointed by the cynical tactics of a handful of politicians who held women’s health to ransom and forced some unnecessary amendments to the bill. We are confident that the NSW Government will implement the law in a way that ensures all people can access affordable and impartial reproductive healthcare.”

The reforms in NSW mean that South Australia and Western Australia remain the only jurisdictions to still use the criminal law to regulate abortion. The South Australian Law Reform Institute is currently reviewing how to modernise that state’s abortion laws. 

“We look forward to the South Australian Parliament taking the next step to demonstrate their commitment to women’s health and equality by decriminalising abortion,” said Walters.

The Human Rights Law Centre is proud to be a member of the NSW Pro Choice Alliance and thanks the Women’s Electoral Lobby for their leadership of the Alliance.

For more information:

Michelle Bennett, Communications Director: 0419 100 519

Photo credit: Lorie Shaull