The Queensland State Parliament last night moved to decriminalise abortion, striking out century-old laws which forbade women from choosing not to carry a pregnancy.

The decision passed with by a margin of 50 to 41, allowing women to secure safe pregnancy terminations, administered by medical professionals, at up to 22 weeks of gestation.

Provisions to secure a termination after 22 weeks in case of medical emergency were also included in the bill, along with the implementation of ‘safe zones’ excluding anti-abortion protesters from demonstrating within a 150m radius of facilities which provide those services.

Speaking to The Today Show this morning, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the bill was a monumental moment for women in the state to secure autonomy over their own bodies.

“Last night, history was made, and it’s an incredible feeling to think that we’ve come a long way,” she said.

“The statute book of 119 years has been ripped up, thrown out the door, and now it’s up to a women to choose what to do with her body, in consultation with her doctor.”

Parliamentarians, including Palaszczuk’s Labor colleagues in the Federal Parliament and from The Greens, have also celebrated the bill as a necessary shake-up which will protect women who seek to obtain a termination.

Attention has also turned on New South Wales, which is now the only state in Australia to consider abortion a criminal act.

Today, groups including Family Planning NSW, the Women’s Electoral Lobby, and Community Legal Centres NSW called on the NSW State Government to update its laws.

In a statement, Adrianne Walters, a senior lawyer with the Human Rights Law Centre, said “Politicians across the divide should take notice – abortion laws in NSW defy community values, undermine modern medical practice and are hopelessly out of step with common sense.

“They must be modernised.”

A bill to decriminalise abortion in NSW failed to pass last year, however a bill passed in June enshrining ‘safe zones’ around reproductive health clinics which provide medical terminations in the state’s legal grey area. 

Progress is slow in NSW, but QLD has proven it’s definitely possible.

Source: ABC
Image: Glenn Hunt / AAP Image