Abortion decriminalised in Queensland following historic vote
50 to 41.
Queensland has joined the rest of the country (NSW not included) in decriminalising abortion in parliament. While three senior Liberal National MP’s tried their best to put a halt to the bill, the bill was passed with 50 votes for and 41 votes against.
The Guardian report that the laws took an entire two days to debate the matter, with dozens of MPs stepping up to speak.
The new legislation means that women in Qld will be able to abort for up to 22 weeks before seeking two doctors opinions on the termination and without fear of risking criminal prosecution.
The legalisation also establishes ‘safe access zones’ around clinics, similar to the ruling in ACT, where abortion protesters cannot picket abortion clinics and target women entering the facilities.
Health professionals who conscientiously object to abortion will also be required to refer patients to other practitioners who may perform the termination.
Queensland: It is now legal to abort up to 22 weeks without doctor’s approval, at which point patients can get permission from two practitioners with consideration of the woman’s health at that point in time.
New South Wales and Norfolk Island: NSW has the least amount of rights for women seeking abortions, with the act being criminalized except for a few exemptions where a doctor finds any reason on economic, social or medical grounds that the pregnancy should be terminated.
Australian Capital Territory: It is legal on request in the ACT, with safe zones surrounding the clinics from protestors.
Tasmania: Legal only after 16 weeks and two doctors must approve the termination. It is also illegal to protest within 150 metres of an abortion clinic or service.
Northern Territory: It is legal up until 14 weeks with two doctors approval, with exceptions being made up to 24 weeks if the woman’s life is in danger.
Western Australia: In Western Australia abortion is an option up to 20 weeks, after which point it becomes nearly impossible to undergo the procedure due to restrictions. In cases in which the woman is under the age of 16 a parent must be notified.
Victoria: In Victoria it is legal to abort up to 24 weeks of gestation with two doctors permission, with the 150 metre safe zones in effect.
South Australia: SA is not quite up to the mark, but is better than NSW in the sense that it is legal for maternal life, instances of rape, health concerns, foetal defects and the mental health of the woman. The next step would be enforcing legality on request.
In reference to the debate in Qld, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk spoke about how the laws gave parliament a chance to change history.
“Because I believe, and I have always believed, a women should be able to talk to her doctor about her own health and her own body with it being a crime,” she said according to News.com.au
Image: Getty / Christoph Hetzmannseder