Human rights lawyers welcome moves to overturn 19th Century Abortion laws in QLD.

July 19, 2018 Abortion law reform

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has welcomed recommendations released by the Palaszczuk Government this week in the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC) report on the review of termination of pregnancy laws in Queensland.

ALHR President Kerry Weste said, “ALHR strongly supports the recommendations of the QLRC to reform pregnancy termination laws in Queensland, decriminalise abortion, and establish safe access zones around termination clinics.”

“We are extremely pleased that QLRC has recommended that abortion be decriminalised in Queensland, and for Queensland’s laws to be finally updated consistent with Australia’s international legal obligations, community standards and current practice.”

“ALHR as well as numerous other domestic and international human rights organisations have long called for the repeal of laws prohibiting abortion as an important step in eliminating discrimination against women and addressing preventable deaths caused by unsafe terminations.”

“The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Committee on the Rights of the Child have all declared that States are obliged to provide access to safe and legal abortion services.”

“ALHR commends the QLRC and the Queensland Government on recognising the need for safe access zones to enable patients, support people, and clinic staff to enter and leave clinics safely and free from harassment.”

“We welcome the QLRC’s recommendations regarding the requirement for practitioners who have a conscientious objection to refer patients to a practitioner who does not object to providing pregnancy termination services, and clarifying the duties of all health professionals to perform termination services if required in emergencies.”

“ALHR continues to urge that draft legislation incorporates gender-neutral language to ensure the right of access to termination services for transgender and non-binary people as well.”

ALHR is also calling on the NSW Government to immediately follow suit. “In NSW Abortion remains a criminal offence punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. Once these measures are passed in QLD, NSW will extraordinarily be in a truly archaic position as regards its laws on the termination of pregnancy. Having just legislated safe access zones and in light of the QLRC report, the NSW Government should now move swiftly to decriminalise abortion.”

Currently 81% of Australians agree a woman should have the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion and that between half and one quarter of Australian women will access an abortion service in their lifetime. Those who choose abortions should not be treated as criminals or subjected to harassment and intimidation; ; this choice is a fundamental human right ” said Ms Weste.

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