Abortion in Australia

SUMMARY OF AUSTRALIAN ABORTION LAWS – LABOR’s ABORTION OBSESSION

1. Australian State & Territory Termination of Pregnancy jurisdictions

STATE

LAW (link) / year

Summary** (more comprehenisve summary in the below table)

Political Party’s Bill

Queensland

Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018

Abortion to birth legal for any reason

Labor

Victoria

Abortion Law Reform Act2008

Abortion to birth legal for any reason

Labor

Tasmania

Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Act 2013

Abortion to 16 weeks for any reason; 16 weeks to birth for medical/ psychological reasons.

Labor

Western Australia

Acts Amendment (Abortion) Act 1998

Abortion to 20 weeks for any reason; 20 weeks to birth for medical reasons.

Labor

ACT

Crimes (Abolition of Offence of Abortion) Act 2002;

Health (Patient Privacy) Amendment Act 2015

Abortion to birth legal for any reason

Labor

South Australia

Abortion Regulations (1970)

Abortion legal to 28 weeks gestation for maternal physical or psychological distress

Two doctor approval requirement

No supports given to women considering abortion

No medical care given to babies born alive in failed abortion

All abortions done at public facilities

Note: The South Australian Government was the first government to legalise abortion in Australia – passing law in 1969, which was enacted in 1970

Liberal

New South Wales

Abortion Law Reform Act 2019

Abortion legal for any reason to 22 weeks gestation

Abortion legal post 22 weeks up to birth for maternal physical or psychological distress with a second doctors approval

Mild restrictions around sex-selective abortion

Medical care must be provided to babies born alive in failed abortions (NSW is the only state to have such a provision)

Liberal (via a private members Bill)

Northern Territory

Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform Act 2017

Abortion to 14 weeks for any reason. Abortion 14 to 23 weeks based on wide range of criteria including “social circumstances”. Post 23 weeks abortion is legal to save a woman’s life.

Labor

 

2. Expanded summary of abortion laws

STATE

LAWS

Queensland

- 22 weeks on request.

- 22 weeks to birth on a range of criteria including “social circumstances”.

- Doctors with conscientious objection to abortion must refer anyway.

- No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).

- 150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions (the cruel method banned in the US where a late-term baby is partially delivered feet first and then the baby’s head is decompressed while still in the birth canal).

Victoria

- 24 weeks on request.

- 24 weeks to birth on a range of criteria including “social circumstances”.

- Doctors with conscientious objection to abortion must refer anyway.

- No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).

- 150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions.

ACT

-Abortion is legal at any gestation until birth.

-Abortion is permitted by any registered medical practitioner in a medical facility or part of a medical facility approved by the Minister for Health.

- Every person has the right to refuse to assist with an abortion.

- 50 metre exclusion zones around abortion clinics. Penalty for breach: maximum 25 penalty units for engaging in prohibited behaviour; maximum 50 penalty units and/or 6 months’ imprisonment for publishing video of person entering/leaving facility.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions.

- No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).

Tasmania

- 16 weeks on request.

- 16 weeks to birth requiring consent of two doctors on medical  or psychological grounds.

- At least one of the doctors must specialise in obstetrics or gynaecology.

- Doctors with conscientious objection to abortion must refer anyway.

- Doctors, nurses and midwives continue to have a duty to treat during an emergency if a termination is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman or prevent serious physical injury.

- Doctors who hold a conscientious objection and fail to provide a woman with the list of prescribed health services risk professional (not criminal) sanctions.

- It is a crime for a person to terminate a pregnancy without a woman’s consent.

- It is also a crime for a person who is not a medical practitioner to terminate a pregnancy.

- 150 metre exclusion zone.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions.

- No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).

Western Australia

- Legal Up to 20 weeks on request to counselling by a medical practitioner other than the one performing the abortion

- When the life or physical or mental health of the woman is endangered and when the pregnancy causes serious danger to the woman's mental health, or when serious personal, family or social circumstances,

- After 20 weeks, for severe fetal abnormality – must be confirmed by two independently appointed doctors.

- The medical practitioner must provide the woman with counselling about the medical risks of having a termination and of continuing the pregnancy.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions.

Northern Territory

-Abortion legal up to 14 weeks gestation on request

- Abortion legal 14 weeks to 23 weeks on under a broad of criteria including social circumstances.

-Abortion legal from 23 weeks gestation to save the life of a woman.

- 150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics

- no requirement of parental approval for abortions

- RU486 tablets provided for early medical abortions.

- Doctors with conscientious objection to abortion must refer anyway.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions.

- No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).

South Australia

Abortion legal to 28 weeks gestation for maternal physical or psychological distress

Two doctor approval requirement

No supports given to women considering abortion

No medical care given to babies born alive in failed abortion

All abortions done at public facilities

Note: The South Australian Government was the first government to legalise abortion in Australia – passing law in 1969, which was enacted in 1970

New South Wales

Abortion legal for any reason to 22 weeks gestation

Abortion legal post 22 weeks up to birth for maternal physical or psychological distress with a second doctors approval

Mild restrictions around sex-selective abortion

Medical care must be provided to babies born alive in failed abortions (NSW is the only state to have such a provision)