Abortion will be legal in Queensland for the first time in 119 years after the Parliament passed the Palaszczuk Government’s historic laws tonight.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018 will ensure women can access services and health professionals can provide these services without fear or stigma.
“This is an historic day for Queensland. The Palaszczuk Government is proud to deliver on our election commitment to modernise and clarify the laws around termination of pregnancy,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We now join other jurisdictions, both in Australia and around the world, in recognising termination as a health matter.
“These changes affirm the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to respecting the rights and autonomy of women.”
Health Minister Steven Miles said the new laws would protect health workers doing their job and going to and from work.
“Nobody should have to wonder every day if they are breaking the law, nobody should be harassed going to work, least of all our hardworking doctors and nurses who are looking after Queenslanders,” he said.
“These laws provide our doctors and nurses with that certainty.”
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said in adopting the laws recommended by the Queensland Law Reform Commission, the Parliament recognised their extensive work in drafting evidence based, best practice legislation.
“The QLRC has provided government and this parliament with the reform design that we need to decriminalise abortion and regulate it as a health matter for the benefit of Queensland women and medical and health practitioners,” Ms Trad said.
“I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved today. The right of women to control their own reproduction, their own bodies is such an important part of equality in our society.
“I particularly thank the community that has been part of this campaign. It has been a community that has been assembled over the last 40 years.”
Attorney General Yvette D’Ath said that these laws would finally bring Queensland into the 21st Century.
“I am so proud, as the Attorney-General of this state, as a woman, as a mother, to witness this significant reform which provides long-needed clarity,” Ms D’Ath said.
“We’ve done this for our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our friends. For women who have fought long and hard for the right to autonomy over their own bodies.
“Termination is never an easy option for any woman, and no one ever makes this decision lightly, but all women across Queensland should have the right to make the decision for themselves and without fear of criminal prosecution.”
The Termination of Pregnancy Act:
- repeals the previous offences in the Criminal Code criminalising termination and inserts new offences relating to unqualified persons;
- allows terminations on request up to a gestational limit of 22 weeks;
- allows terminations after 22 weeks gestation where two medical practitioners agree that it is appropriate, taking into account relevant circumstances;
- provides for registered health practitioners to conscientiously object to advising about, assisting in or performing a termination;
- requires health practitioners with a conscientious objection to inform and refer the woman to another health practitioner or health service provider who does not have a conscientious objection; and
- establishes safe access zones of 150 metres around premises where termination services are ordinarily provided.
Queensland Health will now roll out a comprehensive implementation plan for health professionals.
This includes establishing a women’s helpline, so that all Queensland women will have access to trusted information from Queensland Health about their rights and the support and services available to them.
The Act will commence on 3 December 2018.