Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath has today introduced a Bill to Parliament which will ensure Queensland women have reasonable and safe access to termination of pregnancies.
The Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 is based on the Queensland Law Reform Commission’s detailed review of current legislation, and repeals sections of the Criminal Code which currently make terminations a crime.
“The Palaszczuk Government is proud to introduce this Bill today, delivering on our election commitment to modernise and clarify the laws so that the issue is no longer treated as a crime, but as a health issue,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“These are significant and historic reforms to bring Queensland’s laws into the 21st century, and provide clarity and certainty for women, health professionals, and the community,” she said.
Mrs D’Ath told Parliament that Queensland’s current laws create uncertainty among doctors about their obligations and liability.
“The possibility of criminal prosecution of both health professionals and women impedes the provision of a full range of safe, accessible and timely reproductive services for Queensland women.
“This, in turn, leads to fear and stigma at a time when an incredibly difficult choice is being made.”
The Bill allows for terminations on request up to 22 weeks gestation, with additional requirements to be satisfied after that time.
This Bill also includes measures to ensure reasonable and safe access to termination services, by establishing “safe access zones”.
“150 metre safe access zones will protect the safety, well-being, and privacy of both patients and employees,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“The Bill also protects the right of a health practitioner to hold a conscientious objection to terminations, while requiring them to disclose this objection to the patient and refer them to another service provider.
“I realise this is a highly emotive issue, but I once again appeal for the debate to remain reasonable, informed and above all else, respectful,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“This is also why Health and Ambulance Services Minister Steven Miles has today launched a “fact check” website, to debunk misconceptions surrounding the termination of pregnancy,” she said.
To view the Fact Checker, visit https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/specific/queensland-abortion-law-reform
The Bill will now be considered by the parliamentary health committee with public submissions to open in the near future.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath