Abortion Law Across Australia - A Review of Nine Jurisdictions
C deCosta and others, 'Abortion Law Across Australia - A Review of Nine Jurisdictions' (2015) 55 (2) Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 105-11
Posted: 23 Jul 2015
Date Written: 2015
This article reviews the current legal status of abortion in Australia and its implications. Australian abortion law has been a matter for the states since before Federation. In the years since Federation there have been significant reforms and changes in the abortion laws of some jurisdictions, although not all. Across Australia there are now nine sets of laws, state and Commonwealth, concerned with abortion. The test of a lawful abortion varies greatly across jurisdictions. In a number of states and territories, it is necessary to establish a serious risk to the physical or mental health of the woman if the pregnancy was to continue. In some cases, the certification of two doctors is required, particularly for abortions at later gestations. There are also physical restrictions on access, such as in South Australia and the Northern Territory where abortion must take place in a hospital. Only in the ACT has abortion been removed from the criminal law altogether. Variations in the law and restrictions arising from these are not consistent with the aims and provision of the universal, accessible health care system aspired to in Australia. There is an urgent need for overall reform and the introduction of uniformity to Australia’s abortion laws, including removal of abortion from the criminal law.
Keywords: abortion, Australia, law.
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation