Media Release – Abortion Law Reform

The Women’s Legal Service Tasmania today welcomed the announcement by Tasmania’s Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne that she would be moving to decriminalise abortion in the State.

Currently abortion is illegal in Tasmania under the Criminal Code Act 1924 except in circumstances where two doctors have approved the procedure.

Managing Solicitor Susan Fahey said:

“Decriminalisation of abortion is past overdue in Tasmania. This reform is in keeping with broader community opinion and values and it will end the confusion for Tasmania’s women and doctors alike.”

Ms Fahey stated that the Women’s Legal Service supports the move to decriminalise abortion and introduce new legislation, the Reproductive Health  (Access to Terminations) Bill 2013, saying:

“The decision to terminate a pregnancy should be a matter for a woman and her doctor. It is a decision no woman takes lightly and it should not be governed in legislation relating to criminal matters”.

In welcoming the proposed new legislation she said:

“No other medical procedure In Tasmania is treated as a criminal act as occurs with abortion. The creation of a single piece of legislation with clear, easy to understand provisions will end the confusion currently plaguing doctors and it will create a safe and accessible framework allowing women to make an informed and supported choice.”
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