South Australia is the last remaining jurisdiction where abortion is in the Criminal Code. The current 1969 abortion laws act as a barrier to the provision of best practice health care. This means abortion remains a crime punishable by up to life imprisonment.
In late 2018 I introduced the Statutes Amendment (Abortion Law Reform) Bill in Parliament. This Bill recognises the fact that best quality abortion care is a woman’s free choice.
The Bill has the backing of the South Australian Abortion Action Coalition, a group made up of medical and legal professionals in the state who are concerned by the barriers to abortion care they see each day.
I’m proud to have put this issue back on the agenda. The Bill was referred to the South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI) in 2019, and a Bill to decriminalise abortion will be debated in 2020. This is an important and long overdue reform, but we need your support to get this Bill over the line as members of Parliament will have a conscience vote on this issue.
We are also one step closer to safe access zones. My Health Care (Health Access Zones) Amendment Bill) passed the Upper House in November. It provides safe access zones of at least 150m around premises offering abortion services. This will go a long way to protecting the dignity and privacy of women accessing health care free the awful harassment and intimidation of anti-abortion protesters. You can watch my second reading speech summing up the debate here.