abortion decriminalisation

Thousands of women marched across Italy on May 26 to mark the anniversary of Italy’s 194 Law, which passed in 1978 and legalised abortion in the country.

As the results of the Irish abortion referendum were announced on May 26, registering a big win for repealing a constitutional ban on abortion, scenes of celebration were shared around the world, writes Kamala Emanuel.

“Sexual education to decide, birth control to not abort, legal abortion to not die!” For over a decade, this has been the rallying cry behind Argentina’s National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion, and for the first time it seems like it may become a reality.

In a move similar to the one that preceded abortion law reform in Victoria and Tasmania, Queensland Attorney-General and justice minister Yvette D’Ath has referred abortion to the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC). It has been tasked with drafting legislation to modernise abortion law. The current laws date back to 1899 and have not been amended since.

The Supreme Court of Victoria handed down its judgement on March 21, quashing the appeal of an anti-abortion protester who had been convicted for displaying images of aborted foetuses.

Michelle Fraser, an anti-abortion protester, had displayed placards of aborted foetuses with anti-abortion slogans, outside the Melbourne Fertility Clinic, in February 2013. In 2014, she was convicted of displaying obscene images.

Nineteen doctors who are current or recent providers of abortion services in Queensland have signed a letter to the state premier calling for abortion decriminalisation to be resolved in the current term of parliament. This follows another delay in achieving legal reform after private member's bills were withdrawn earlier this year.

The signatories include an overwhelming majority of doctors performing abortion in Queensland.


Pro-choice protest outside Queensland parliament, May 10.

Pro-choice activists in Queensland have expressed disappointment at the release of a parliamentary report on August 26 that failed to support the bill before Queensland parliament to decriminalise abortion.

A public forum on abortion decriminalisation held at James Cook University in Cairns attracted more than 80 people on July 13. The night before, a public forum also took place in Brisbane organised by Young Queenslanders for the Right to Choose, attracting about 150 people.

The JCU meeting was organised by Pro Choice Cairns to inform the discussion around the Abortion Law Reform (Women's Right to Choose) Amendment Bill 2016 which was tabled in parliament on May 10 by Cairns MP Rob Pyne.

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