Abortion made legal in Queensland

Amanda Lyons

18/10/2018 1:26:14 PM

The Queensland Parliament voted to remove abortion from the state’s criminal code by a majority of 50 votes to 41.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk supports the framing of abortion as a health issue rather than a legal one. (Image: Dan Peled)
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk supports the framing of abortion as a health issue rather than a legal one. (Image: Dan Peled)

The Queensland Parliament held a conscience vote on the new laws on Wednesday night, with sitting hours extended so the bill could be finalised on the night of voting.
The new laws, which were drafted based on recommendations from the state’s law reform commission, will allow legal abortion up to 22 weeks’ gestation. Abortions may also be performed after this period if the medical practitioner performing the procedure has consulted with a second medical practitioner and they are in agreement the abortion should proceed.
Women undergoing terminations will also be protected from harassment by protestors by the creation of safe access zones of 150 metres surrounding termination and fertility clinics.
Pregnancy termination was previously classified as an ‘offence against morality’ under Queensland’s criminal code, and could not be legally performed even in cases of rape, incest and foetal abnormality.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk supported the framing of abortion as a health issue rather than a legal one.
‘I’ve always believed a woman should be able to talk to her doctor about her own health and her own body without it being a crime,’ she said.
A conscience vote that allowed MPs to vote outside of their party lines resulted in some surprises, particularly from the three MPs from the Liberal National Party (LNP) whose votes were cast in defiance of their party’s formal policy.
‘It goes against, obviously, the party policy and quite a few other comments and concerns that people had, so I didn’t make it lightly,’ former Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls, an LNP member who voted in support of the law change, said.
‘I made it after a lot of consideration but I think it’s the right decision, and I think it ... will be seen to be a very historic day for the right reasons.’
One Labor MP, Jo Ann Miller, voted against the law changes, while another, Linus Power, abstained from voting.
Dr Bruce Willett, Chair of RACGP Queensland, told newsGP the faculty is supportive of the new laws.
‘RACGP Queensland applauds the changes, as they make it safer for women and doctors when making decisions about their reproductive health,’ he said.
‘Termination of pregnancy is more properly a medical issue than a criminal one.’
Dr Willett emphasised, however, the need to respect the rights of doctors who are uncomfortable with pregnancy termination.
‘It is also important that conscientious objectors are not required to perform these procedures under the law change,’ he said. ‘Although they are obliged to refer women to another practitioner or service who will, if this is a service they are seeking.’

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Dr Michael PEARCY   19/10/2018 6:30:05 PM

Dr Bruce Willett was quoted as saying the college was supportive of the new abortion laws in Queensland. I was not aware that college members views were ever canvassed on this matter. Has he spoken to GP's about this? If the college feels that abortions at 22 weeks or more are ok, then I would have to review my membership of the college.

Dr Paul Triggs   19/10/2018 9:27:16 PM

Rubbish. The criminal code previously distinguished a "lawful" and an "unlawful" abortion; the latter being a criminal offense. It was not explicit in the distinction between the two. To say all abortions were illegal is a lie, and is inconsistent with the fact that abortion clinics have operated in the state for decades. The writer regurgitates the propaganda espoused by the abortion industry, and ignores the financial interest some protagonists for expanded abortion services are motivated by.

MS Heather Clayton-Callaghan   20/10/2018 2:44:40 PM

WHY change the law ?? In stead of a much more concerted effort being made to using CONTRACEPTION and PROTECTION ??? WHY NOT ELIMINATE the very need for abortion instead !!!! PREVENTION is always better than CURE. WHY are we removing CONSEQUENCE the action of CHOICE ??!! One should be educated at an early age that to have CHOICE one must first accept they are RESPONSIBLE for their CHOICES and accept the CONSEQUENCES !! ABORTION removes all that.
Educate with FACTS : No1 FACTUAL REASON for the action of sexual intercourse is to PROCREATION ie: the PRODUCTION OF OFFSPRING . (CAPS are to highlight)
No2. Fact : sex is created to be pleasurable for both male and female.BUT sex is NOT a part of our bodies for anything other than MAKING BABIES !!!
If this was taught from the very beginning of sex education ,then maybe we'd create a society that took responsibility for themselves.
You know what :
"The more lifebelts you throw a swimmer , the less swimming he will do to help himself".
Same applies with ABORTION.
Make all people RESPONSIBLE for HOW FAR out they CHOOSE to swim , so they can return to the beach safely.