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11 July 18
Women should be empowered to make the best decision for their lives in consultation with their doctor, and without fearing criminal prosecution. In a submission to the Queensland Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into abortion laws, the Human Rights Law Centre has called for the decriminalisation of abortion and for new laws that respect women’s right to choose what happens to their bodies. It also renewed its call for the creation of safe access zones around abortion clinics to stop anti-abortionists from harassing and intimidating women as they enter.
Abortion is still a part of Queensland’s criminal law, despite a wealth of evidence that criminalising abortion is bad for women’s health. "The reasons for abortion are varied and complex and we need to put that decision in the hands of women and their doctors,"
Polling in Queensland in 2017 showed that over 80 per cent of people think that it should be legal for a woman to decide to terminate her pregnancy in consultation with a medical professional.
Evidence shows that criminalising abortion does not decrease abortion rates, rather it increases unsafe procedures. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) strongly supports legislation to decriminalise and regulate abortion in Queensland.
Adoption of this Bill will show respect for the important principle of providing women with choice when they find themselves in a situation where termination of pregnancy is an option they would consider. Removing the legal barriers will enable earlier access which is particularly important in cases where the pregnancy is a risk to the woman’s health.