Abor­tion Le­gal­ized in Queens­land, Aus­tralia

The McGill Daily - - News - Nabeela Jivraj The Mcgill Daily

The state par­lia­ment of Queens­land, Aus­tralia voted to le­gal­ize abor­tion on Oc­to­ber 17. The his­toric leg­is­la­tion comes as fol­low- through on prom­ises made by Palaszczuk, leader of the La­bor Party. She has been Premier of Queens­land since 2015. She is also the first Aus­tralian premier to hold a ma­jor­ity fe­male min­istry. The new leg­is­la­tion would erase a sec­tion of the crim­i­nal code which deemed “ter­mi­na­tion of preg­nancy” an “of­fence against moral­ity.” Un­der this law, peo­ple seek­ing abor­tions faced the pos­si­bil­ity of crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion.

The cur­rent premier, An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk, said the code was writ­ten be­fore women had the right to vote. Grace Grace, ALP Ed­u­ca­tion and In­dus­trial Re­la­tions Min­is­ter, added that the crim­i­nal code was writ­ten be­fore Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ples had votes in the house.

The new leg­is­la­tion took two days in the house to be passed. The emo­tional de­bate saw tears from many MPS, and cen­tred around the need for eq­uity in reproductive health rights and full au­ton­omy for peo­ple with uteruses over their own bod­ies. The anti- choice op­po­si­tion was equally pas­sion­ate, cit­ing mur­der and the pos­si­bil­ity of eu­gen­ics as claims against the leg­is­la­tion. The de­bate re­sulted in a fi­nal vote of 50 for and 41 against, with one ab­stain­ing vote. The ma­jor­ity of those vot­ing against the bill were male.

Abor­tion will now be le­gal un­til 22 weeks of ges­ta­tion, and af­ter that point will be le­gal with ap­proval from two doc­tors. Clin­ics will be re­quired to es­tab­lish safe zones, in or­der to re­strict protesters and peo­ple seek­ing to ha­rass staff and pa­tients from com­ing within 150 me­tres of clin­ics. While doc­tors will still be al­lowed to in­di­vid­u­ally refuse to treat an abor­tion pa­tient on mo­ral grounds, they will be legally re­quired to re­fer her to an­other med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner.

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