STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Where Australia stands on abortion

Abortion is common, safe, and the only criminalised listed medical procedure in Australia due to an archaic,...

Posted: Sep 14, 2018 7:49 AM
Updated: Sep 14, 2018 7:49 AM

Abortion is common, safe, and the only criminalised listed medical procedure in Australia due to an archaic, flawed piece of legislation inherited from Victorian England.

Despite campaigns to decriminalize abortion, progress has been slow, and patchy across states. Here's where each state is up to.

Abortion

Abortion rights

Australia

Continents and regions

Health and medical

Medical treatments and procedures

Mental health

Oceania

Sexual and reproductive health

Societal issues

Society

The Australian Capital Territory

The ACT is the only Australian jurisdiction to completely remove abortion from criminal law. Medical practitioners can perform abortions at approved facilities.

The health minister can establish safe access zones around abortion clinics, where interfering with a person attending the clinic or causing them distress is prohibited.

Who chooses abortion? More women than you might think

The parliament is set to debate a bill that would allow women to access abortion via telemedicine, nurse practitioners, or their GP.

New South Wales

"Unlawful abortion" is punishable by up to ten years' imprisonment in NSW. Case law permits medical practitioners to perform abortions on physical, mental health, economic or "social stress" grounds.

In 2017, a woman who had experienced reproductive coercion was convicted of attempting to procure a miscarriage.

In 2017, the NSW Coalition government unanimously voted against decriminalising abortion. Safe access zones were established in June 2018. The Greens continue to campaign for law repeal.

Northern Territory

Ministerially approved medical practitioners can perform abortions to preserve a woman's life before 14 weeks gestation on physical, psychological or social grounds and between 14 and 23 weeks with another doctor's approval in the NT.

The legality of abortions performed after 23 weeks is uncertain. Doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion must refer patients to a doctor with no such objection. Safe access zones are established in the NT.

The attorney general has promised to review the abortion laws.

Queensland

Abortion is a crime punishable by up to ten years' imprisonment in Queensland. Case law permits medical practitioners to perform abortions "in exceptional cases" on physical and mental health grounds.

In 2010, a Cairns couple was tried and acquitted of procuring an abortion. In April 2018, a suicidal 12-year-old sought permission from the Supreme Court to obtain an abortion. The lack of surgical abortion facilities in far north Queensland has seen women fly interstate for abortions or even perform self-administered abortion.

How the Catholic Church came to oppose birth control

Parliament will debate the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 in October. This bill follows the Queensland Law Reform Commission's recommendations and allows abortion on request to 22 weeks and thereafter in emergencies or when two doctors deem it necessary on physical, psychological or social grounds.

There are provisions for conscientious objection and safe access zones. Abortions performed by unqualified persons would remain unlawful.

South Australia

Abortion remains a crime punishable by up to life imprisonment in SA. A 1969 statutory amendment allows abortion when:

  • two doctors determine the abortion necessary on mental or physical health grounds or for foetal abnormalities
  • performed in a prescribed hospital before the woman is 28 weeks pregnant and thereafter only to preserve the woman's health
  • the woman has resided in South Australia for two months.

After two years of community engagement, the South Australian Abortion Action Coalition began its formal campaign in August 2018 by sending letters to each state MP calling on them to take action to repeal abortion laws.

Tasmania

In Tasmania medical practitioners can perform abortions with a woman's consent up to 16 weeks, and thereafter when two doctors deem it necessary on physical or mental health grounds. There are provisions for conscientious objection and safe access zones.

The state's last abortion clinic closed in December 2017, forcing women requiring surgical abortions to travel interstate. The Liberal government is working with a private provider to deliver low-cost surgical procedures to women in Hobart from October.

Victoria

Abortion is legal on request up to 24 weeks, and thereafter when two medical practitioners deem it necessary on physical, psychological or social grounds. Pharmacists and registered nurses can supply and administer medical abortion before 24 weeks, and thereafter on direction from a medical practitioner.

It remains a crime for an unqualified person to perform an abortion. There is a conscientious objection clause. Safe access zones were established in 2015.

An anti-abortionist has brought an appeal against her conviction for breaching safe access zones to the High Court on grounds that the legislation infringes on her freedom of political communication. A similar challenge has been brought in Tasmania.

Western Australia

Abortion is unlawful unless performed before 20 weeks' gestation by a medical practitioner who has obtained a woman's informed consent or determines the abortion necessary on physical, mental, social, personal or familial grounds.

After 20 weeks, two medical doctors from a ministerially appointed panel of at least six must agree the pregnant woman or foetus has a severe medical condition. A parent must be notified of abortions performed on those under 16 years of age.

Australian laws obstruct access to abortion. Gestational limits, which are generally interpreted conservatively, often make second and third trimester abortions accessible solely to those who can afford to travel interstate or overseas.

South Australians cannot access medical abortion via telehealth or their GPs and must travel to Adelaide or a handful of regional centers.

Abortion remains a doctor's choice in several jurisdictions. Abortions are generally costly, and one in three women find it difficult or very difficult to finance them. Law repeal is therefore one of many changes necessary to ensure better abortion access.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21488

Reported Deaths: 357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah496096
Washington311925
Marion293870
Umatilla230228
Clackamas154940
Malheur80414
Deschutes61110
Lane5903
Jackson4732
Yamhill46713
Lincoln4189
Union3942
Morrow3723
Jefferson3714
Polk31912
Linn28410
Klamath2012
Hood River1930
Wasco1923
Benton1696
Douglas1511
Josephine1152
Columbia970
Coos910
Clatsop850
Crook491
Baker400
Tillamook340
Lake320
Wallowa191
Sherman160
Curry150
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant40
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 574231

Reported Deaths: 10476
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2105434998
Riverside41983820
Orange40527726
San Bernardino36072546
San Diego32975594
Kern24440171
Fresno17846171
Alameda13631209
San Joaquin12864223
Santa Clara12694205
Sacramento12040177
Tulare10862196
Stanislaus10264169
Imperial9693244
Contra Costa9404139
Ventura863492
San Francisco762367
Santa Barbara670469
San Mateo6318120
Merced573670
Monterey544635
Marin540481
Kings445356
Solano427441
Sonoma367047
Madera246339
Placer231922
San Luis Obispo225416
Yolo183444
Santa Cruz12436
Butte12388
Napa107411
Sutter9527
San Benito7654
El Dorado7552
Lassen6830
Yuba6464
Mendocino47210
Shasta45910
Colusa3914
Glenn3603
Nevada3571
Humboldt2864
Tehama2761
Lake2402
Amador1822
Mono1581
Tuolumne1553
Calaveras1471
Inyo1063
Siskiyou1020
Del Norte1000
Mariposa622
Plumas360
Modoc50
Trinity50
Sierra40
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 66°
Brookings
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 51°
Crater Lake
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 52°
Grants Pass
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 63°
Klamath Falls
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 52°
Cooler and quiet Wednesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events