Abortion Laws Coming To Queensland Parliament
Abortion will be decriminalised in Queensland and safe zones enforced under new laws to be introduced to state parliament.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk released the Queensland Law Reform Commission's (QLRC) review of the state's abortion laws on Monday and announced cabinet had accepted all of its recommendations.
"For too long this archaic law has sat on our statute books," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"This is about bringing Queensland into the 21st century."
Under the new laws women would be able to ask to terminate pregnancies up to 22 weeks and "safe zones" of 150 metres would be in place around clinics to stop women, their loved ones and staff from being harassed.
The QLRC found abortions should be treated as a health issue and not a criminal matter, but it suggested making it an offence to perform or assist in abortions without qualifications.
The bill is expected to be debated and passed before the end of the year.
Queensland is set to see abortions decriminalised and protesters at clinics potentially jailed, under sweeping reforms announced today. https://t.co/dIKIXO6M9c @BenBMurph #qldpol #7News pic.twitter.com/H75eqWFqre— 7 News Brisbane (@7NewsBrisbane) July 16, 2018
Doctors and medical professionals can refuse to perform abortions but must refer patients to someone who will.
The Australian Medical Association's Queensland branch, the Queensland Nurses Union and the Human Rights Law Centre have welcomed the announcement.
"The values of 1899 should not limit a woman's right to access the healthcare they need in 2018," the law centre's senior lawyer Adrianne Walters said.
Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington has conditionally agreed to allowing her MPs a conscience vote but first wanted to view the bill.
Right-to-life organisation Cherish Life hit out at the proposed changes including allowing terminations after 22 weeks, provided it was approved by two doctors.
"This radical bill is a con job to try to trick the Queensland public into thinking there will be an effective restriction on late-term abortions, when in fact it will legalise the killing of healthy viable unborn babies for social or financial reasons," executive director Teeshan Johnson said.
Former independent MP Rob Pyne introduced two private member's bills to alter the termination laws in 2017 but withdrew them at the last minute when it became clear neither would pass.
Abortions are legal in Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT, and legal for some medical reasons in South Australia while they are a criminal offence in NSW unless, for example, a woman's life or mental health is at risk.