Labor will move to decriminalise abortion in Queensland and introduce “safe access zones” of 150 metres around clinics. Source: Brisbane Times.
The move comes in the wake of the release of a Queensland Law Reform Commission report recommending changes to the current situation, where abortion remains in the Criminal Code.
Under the proposed changes announced yesterday by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, there would be full decriminalisation of abortion, with doctors, midwives, nurse or pharmacist able to assist in the termination of a pregnancy up to 22 weeks’ gestation. Women would not be required to provide a reason.
After 22 weeks, a doctor would need to consult with a second doctor to receive approval.
Doctors will be allowed to conscientiously object but they would be required to refer a patient to a medical practitioner who would perform the procedure.
But Health Minister Steven Miles said there would not be a mandated time limit for that referral to occur and doctors who refused would not face criminal charges, but rather be referred to professional standards bodies.
It will also include exclusion zones of 150 metres around clinics, as well as bans on filming people entering or leaving clinics or engaging in conduct which might stop people from performing or undergoing a termination.
Breaching safe zones would attract fines of up to $2611 or one year in jail, while unqualified people who sought to perform or assist in an abortion – other than the woman – would be sentenced to up to seven years in jail.
A bill will be introduced into parliament next month, before being referred to a parliamentary committee and then debated the week of October 16.
Labor will allow a conscience vote but LNP leader Deb Frecklington wants to see details of the proposal.
However, Ms Frecklington has said that in the past, as a matter of principle, LNP politicians had been granted a conscience vote on issues of “beginning and end of life”.
“So that would appear to be appropriate but what I would say is we have seen in the last parliament a piece of legislation that was on this topic that was completely abhorrent, that went to full-term abortion,” she said.
Queensland could decriminalise abortion by end of 2018 (The Courier Mail)
Queensland government to introduce proposed abortion laws next month (The Australian)