South Australia moves to modernise abortion laws in the state

South Australia moves to modernise abortion laws in the state


The South Australian parliament is moving to reform abortion laws in the state, having introduced a bill that would remove outdated provisions in the current system.

The proposed legislation would remove abortion entirely from criminal law, treating it only as a health issue. It would bring South Australian abortion laws into line with the rest of Australia.

South Australia’s Attorney-General and Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman, a proponent of the bill, said the reform is based on recommendations by the South Australian Law Reform Institute and has been through extensive consultation.

“This is a based on the understanding that it is a medical procedure which should be treated like any other health issue,” Chapman said on Wednesday.

The reform would also remove the requirement that a woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy requires approval from two medical practitioners. This means that an abortion could be performed by one medical practitioner up to 22 weeks and 6 days gestation.

After this period, a medical practitioner must consult with another practitioner prior to performing an abortion, with both practitioners having the view that the procedure is medically appropriate.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink, who introduced the bill to South Australia’s upper house, said it was completely “outdated that abortion is still under criminal law” in this day and age.

“These days, there is overwhelming public support to decriminalise abortion and it makes sense given women have done nothing wrong,” she said.

“This is consistent with current clinical practice, and in line with recommendations by the Department for Health and Wellbeing.”


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