Controversial abortion laws divide state parliament
Chronology of the story
The reforms, led by Attorney General Vickie Chapman, will be presented as a private member’s bill and will be decided as a vote of conscience, rather than on party lines.
Chapman said the proposed laws would remove outdated provisions from the current system.
“The reforms proposed in the Termination of Pregnancy Bill are based on the recommendations of the South Australian Law Reform Institute and have been the subject of extensive consultation,” she said.
“Our proposal removes abortion entirely from the criminal law – a move that would bring us into line with all other Australian states and territories.
“This is based on the understanding that this is a medical procedure that should be treated like any other health problem.”
The changes would also mean that a woman requesting termination before a certain time would no longer need the approval of two doctors – just one.
“Under proposed laws by the state government, an abortion can be performed by a single physician for up to 22 weeks and six days of gestation,” Chapman said.
“After this period, a doctor can only perform an abortion if they see another practitioner and both are of the opinion that the procedure is medically appropriate.
“This is in line with current clinical practice and in line with the recommendations of the Department of Health and Welfare.”
But Labor MP Clare Scriven, who is firmly opposed to the legislation, argues it would allow more late abortions.
“The current law allows abortion for up to 28 weeks for the physical or mental health of the mother, and after that to save the life of the mother,” she said. Daily.
“The Attorney General (admitted) that current laws mean, in practice, abortion on demand up to that six and a half month stage.
“The prosecutor used the example of ‘a woman just has to come in and say I’m in mental health danger’ to get an abortion. Obviously, the new legislation will also include mental health reasons, and will therefore become abortion on demand until birth. “
Scriven said late abortions have seen a “significant increase” after the introduction of similar legislation in Victoria.
“Babies are considered to be able to live independently from their mothers around 23 to 24 weeks gestation. Why shouldn’t these babies have this opportunity? ” she said.
“No woman has been prosecuted for having abortions in South Africa in the past 50 years, so talking about the need to ‘decriminalize’ only distracts from the key issue – namely that this bill allows abortion until birth.
“Abortion on demand until birth is not currently taking place, so this bill is clearly a significant change. “
The legislation has deeply divided MPs, who will have the opportunity to ask questions at a briefing tomorrow with a panel of medical specialists, including Australian Medical Association president Dr Chris Moy.
“WADA supports the current bill and has helped shape it,” Moy said. Daily.
“The legislation basically does only one very important thing: decriminalize abortion for women and doctors, which is an unfair burden and a significant problem for women’s health.
“These are already very difficult decisions for the women I see, with lasting psychological effects. The last thing they need is the added burden of crime.
Moy said the legislation “basically aligns with what’s already happening”.
“The legislation will not encourage more women to choose abortion, and it puts the legislation into practice within the framework of current legislation,” he said.
“There are already professional standards and ethics applied at this time. Theoretically, a woman can (already) have an abortion until birth if there is a risk to her life.
Moy said only one to two percent of abortions performed now occur after 20 weeks.
“The vast majority of them are due to the fact that there is a fatal disease of the fetus which is diagnosed at 19 or 20 weeks,” he said.
The bill would also remove the requirement that a person seeking to terminate a pregnancy must have resided in South Australia for at least two months.
Greens MP Tammy Franks, who supports the bill, said Daily it would be important for backpackers and tourists.
“It brings our legislation closer to modern medical practice,” she said.
“It cleans up the law so that women and health professionals make decisions about a woman’s health care.”
Social Services Minister Michelle Lensink, who will introduce the bill to the upper house this afternoon, said it was time to modernize the state’s abortion laws.
“Nowadays, it is completely outdated that abortion is still under criminal law,” she said.
“Nowadays there is overwhelming public support to decriminalize abortion and that makes sense given that the women haven’t done anything wrong. “
Local news issues
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it, and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists find out the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to get the facts.