South Australia has at last decriminalised abortion after historic reforms officially passed through parliament.
South Australia has at last decriminalised abortion after historic reforms officially passed through parliament.

Historic abortion reforms pass parliament

Abortion will finally be decriminalised in South Australia after historic reforms were given the final tick of approval by state parliament.

The Termination of Pregnancy Bill cleared the final hurdle on Tuesday afternoon as it passed the Upper House for a second time, officially becoming law.

The Bill removes abortion from the criminal code and allows terminations after 22 weeks and six days' gestation.

SA was the last state in the country to decriminalise abortion.

The Bill was subject to several days of rigorous debate in the Lower House last month, with MPs acting on their conscience rather than party directions.

It eventually passed the Lower House, but not without significant opposition from several MPs who did not agree with the late-term provisions in the Bill.

 

Stand Up for Safe Abortion Care Gathering at Parliament House last month. Picture: Mike Burton
Stand Up for Safe Abortion Care Gathering at Parliament House last month. Picture: Mike Burton

Several amendments were made to the reforms, including tighter provisions for late-term abortions and an explicit ban on terminations done for gender selection reasons, before being sent back to the Upper House - where the Bill first originated.

The SA Abortion Action Coalition said the "stigma of criminalisation" will now become a "relic of the past". Co-convener Barbara Baird was "relieved" the laws passed.

"Medical professionals can now bring compassion to the delivery of abortion care without the threat of the law," she said.

"This is especially significant for patients in rural and remote South Australia who have long waited for the removal of legal barriers to accessing the same abortion care as those living in Adelaide."

Human Rights Law Centre Associate Legal Director Monique Hurley said it was a "massive win for reproductive rights".

"We are grateful to the countless people who have been fighting for this long overdue reform, which will see abortion finally treated as the healthcare matter it is."

 

Originally published as Historic abortion reforms pass SA parliament

An anti-abortion rally at Pennington Gardens and march along the CBD streets, also last month. Picture: Mike Burton
An anti-abortion rally at Pennington Gardens and march along the CBD streets, also last month. Picture: Mike Burton


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