IT’S TIME TO DECRIMINALISE ABORTION IN NSW AND PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has expressed its strong support for the decriminalisation of abortion in NSW.
Benedict Coyne, ALHR President said, “Failure to provide safe, legal and accessible abortion services is a violation of fundamental human rights. ALHR supports the decriminalisation of abortion and the creation of exclusion zones surrounding abortion clinics as a way of protecting and promoting human rights.”
“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,” said Mr Coyne. Data from the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes found that 81% of Australians believed a woman should have the right to choose whether or not she has an abortion. Mr Coyne continued, “The current NSW laws are archaic and not reflective of community values or of internationally recognised human rights principles.”
Abortion is currently a criminal offence under the NSW Crimes Act. While abortion providers operate in New South Wales, they exist within an ambiguous legal space, and as a result, access to services is limited.
Mr Coyne said, “New South Wales and Queensland are the only remaining States that do not provide for legal abortions. The Queensland parliament is currently considering a bill to decriminalise abortion. Every other state and territory has passed laws that provide legal access to abortion services.”
Dr Faruqi and Ms Sharpe will both be panelists at an event hosted by ALHR on abortion law reform in NSW at NSW Parliament House at 6pm on Tuesday 23 August 2016. They will be joined by Associate Professor Kirsten Black (Joint Head of Discipline, Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology, University of Sydney), and Catherine Henry (health and medical lawyer, Catherine Henry Partners). The panel will be facilitated by ALHR’s Women and Girls’ Rights Committee Chair Claire Hammerton.
The Abortion Law Reform (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment) Bill 2016 (The Bill), was introduced into the NSW parliament by Greens MLC Dr. Mehreen Faruqi last week. The Bill would decriminalise abortion and enact safe access zone to prevent harassment and intimidation of women accessing health clinics, similar to laws in Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. Labor MLC Penny Sharpe has also introduced a bill regarding safe access zones into the NSW parliament (the Summary Offences Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Bill 2016).
Find out more about the bills:
Abortion Law Reform (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment) Bill 2016
Summary Offences Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Bill 2016
ALHR is writing to members of the NSW Parliament in support of the Bill. You can read our correspondence attached below.
Join Australian Lawyers for Human Rights at NSW Parliament House for a special event on abortion law reform
A range of speakers will discuss the different political, policy, legal and medical perspectives on abortion law reform in NSW including Mehreen Faruqi MLC and Penny Sharpe MLC who will discuss their bills to be put before the NSW Legislative Council, Associate Professor Kirsten Black (Joint Head of Discipline, Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology, University of Sydney), and Catherine Henry (health and medical lawyer, Catherine Henry Partners). The panel will be facilitated by ALHR’s Women and Girls’ Rights Committee Chair Claire Hammerton.
Where: Jubilee Room, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie St Sydney
When: Tuesday, August 23 at 6 PM – 7:30 PM