Lawyers welcome NSW Bill to remove abortion from Crimes Act

Moves to reform NSW’s outdated abortion laws are long overdue said the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), giving its support to the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 to be tabled in Parliament this week.

“We strongly urge the Parliament to pass the Bill,” said Ms Ngaire Watson, barister and spokesperson for the ALA. “We call on all politicians to listen to the many health care, medical and legal organisations that have been calling for the decriminalisation of abortion for many years.

“Removing abortion from the Crimes Act recognises the dangerous consequences of its criminalisation – for women and medical practitioners. Evidence suggests that criminalising abortion does not decrease abortion rates but merely increases unsafe procedures.”

NSW is the only state or territory in Australia that has not updated its laws relating to pregnancy termination for more than 100 years.

“Denying women access to pregnancy termination services infringes on their rights in many different ways,” said Ms Watson. “The current laws are out-of-date and inconsistent with international human rights standards, which recognise the right to reproductive choice, access to safe health care and equality for women before the law.”

The Australian Lawyers Alliance is a member of the NSW Pro Choice Alliance, led by the Women’s Electoral Lobby.

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