Today we started the conversation around women’s right to choose in Queensland.
The Abortion Law Reform (Woman's Right to Choose) Amendment Bill 2016 removes terminations from the criminal code. This will protect our women, doctors and nurses. It’s an important update to our legislation, and one that is long overdue.
This tabling puts this issue up onto the agenda, and gives us the opportunity to have the very important debate around pubic and health policy.
What this Bill does not do is talk about gestation terms, despite some of the media today. It does not debate the moral stance of abortion. It simply moves terminations, a medical procedure, into the medical arena, and out of the courts.
Currently most states in Australia allow for terminations until 20 weeks, some to 24 weeks with additional medical review. Some also allow for exclusion zones around practices to protect women as they enter and exit. Further exploration of information provision, best practice around counselling, and how referrals are handled are all discussions that need to be had.
Today, I raise this issue for the women in our community. We owe them their fundamental right to access health services safely, without prejudice.
Queensland, it’s up to you.