Wednesday 19 July 2018
WEL NSW welcomes the release of the Queensland Law Reform Commission report that recommends removing abortion from the State’s Criminal Code.
WEL NSW Convenor Philippa Hall said that Women’s Electoral Lobby has campaigned for this basic reform since 1972. ‘Abortion is a common and very safe medical procedure. Approximately one in four Australian women decide to have an abortion in their lifetimes and most Australians have long supported a woman’s right to decide on this treatment with her doctor. We congratulate the Queensland Premier for acting on the Commission’s advice and in support of Queensland women’s capacity to make personal medical decisions, unimpeded by nineteenth century, legal stigmas.’
‘WEL NSW is particularly impressed by the Queensland Law Reform Commission Report’s thorough and conscientious coverage of the medical evidence and the legal arguments around abortion. ‘This is an evidence based report which also systematically draws from extensive expert and community consultations. On this basis the Commission concludes that abortion is a health matter not a legal issue.’
Here you can access the WEL submission to the Queensland Law Reform Commission Consultation Paper, and the Queensland Law Reform Commission's Final Report.
WEL NSW Convenor Philippa Hall went on to say that the announcement by the Queensland Government to support the recommendations and introduce draft legislation in August to decriminalise abortion should increase pressure on the NSW Government and Opposition to commit to reform. 'If Queensland decriminalises, NSW risks being in the embarrassing position of being the only state where a medical treatment which is unique to women is wholly contained in the criminal statutes. Judicial decisions have meant that abortion is legal under NSW common law, but a dangerous ambiguity remains as long as women and their doctors can still be charged under Sections 82-84 of the Crimes Act (1900).
After the recent overwhelming vote in the NSW Parliament to support Safe Access Zones Legislation, WEL expects that all sides of NSW politics will move swiftly to take the next steps: legislating to remove abortion from the Crimes Act and setting out provisions to reflect current clinical practice and NSW Department of Health policies and regulations.
The leadership and resolve shown by the Queensland Government should be an example to NSW politicians of how to handle this issue. We have already seen courageous MPs from the Nationals and ALP lead successful action on Safe Action Zones. WEL looks forward to working with our partner organisations and experts to support the final modernization of abortion law in NSW.’
Contact: Mary O’Sullivan 0419444889
Women’s Electoral Lobby