Take action to support compassionate, safe and legal access to abortion in NSW

August 5, 2019

Urgent Call to Action:

Use our template to urge your local MP to vote in favour of Bill to decriminalise abortion in NSW

Find out where your local MP stands.

Abortion is currently a criminal offence in NSW, punishable by 10 years imprisonment. While abortion providers operate in NSW, they exist within an ambiguous legal space and, as a result, access to services is limited and there remains uncertainty in the medical profession and community.

NSW is the only Australian state yet to modernise its abortion laws and this has very real consequences for people who need to access safe, legal and compassionate reproductive health services.

Tomorrow the NSW Parliament will debate the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019. If passed, it will remove archaic criminal penalties for abortion from NSW statute books and create a standalone healthcare Act to regulate the termination of pregnancy as a health matter, rather than a criminal one. You can read ALHR’s media release here 

If you’d like to join the campaign to support this Bill, we’ve prepared a letter for you to send to your local State MP. All you need to do is copy and paste the text into an email or the MP’s online contact form, include your details, and click send!

Our friends at Fair Agenda have created this online tool to help you find out where your local MP stands: www.voteprochoice.org.au

You can find contact details for your local State MP here: www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/members/Pages/all-members.aspx.

Suggested Text for letter:

[Insert date]
[Insert MP name and address]

Dear [insert the name of your local State Member of Parliament],

I write to express my strong support for the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019(the Bill) currently before the NSW Parliament.

The Bill will remove archaic criminal penalties for abortion from the NSW Criminal Code and create a standalone healthcare Act to regulate the termination of pregnancy as a health matter, rather than a criminal one.

Every other Australian State and Territory has legislated to modernise abortion laws, however, in New South Wales women and medical practitioners are subject to laws that date back 119 years and under which abortion remains a criminal offence punishable by 10 years imprisonment. This creates unacceptable barriers leading to significant gaps in services, particularly for victims of violence and people living in remote and rural areas.

Ensuring access to safe and legal abortion services is part of Australia’s international legal obligations. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child have all declared that States are obliged to provide access to safe and legal abortion services.

Those who seek abortions should not be treated as criminals and the majority of Australians recognise that our laws need to change to reflect this. 

The Bill before you is consistent with the recommendations of the recent Queensland Law Reform Commission’s report into termination of pregnancy laws, which itself had the benefit of evidence from multiple parliamentary inquiries. The Bill also reflects similar laws passed in other Australian states that have decriminalised abortion and regulate termination of pregnancy as a health matter, rather than a criminal one.

The provisions of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which deal with abortion are outdated, unclear and inadequate. Patients and medical professionals in New South Wales deserve laws that are evidence-based, fit for purpose and reflect modern reproductive healthcare. The Bill achieves these aims and will bring New South Wales law in line with other Australian jurisdictions.

I urge you to support the well being and autonomy of pregnant people in NSW by voting in favour of the more compassionate, safe and legal access to abortion offered in the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019.

Yours sincerely

[insert name and residential suburb]

Thank you for taking action to support compassionate, safe and legal access to reproductive health services in NSW!