Abortion Legalized in Queensland, Australia
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.