Selective Reduction of Fetuses in Multiple Pregnancies and the Law in Australia

C Davis, H Douglas, 'Selective Reduction of Fetuses in Multiple Pregnancies and the Law in Australia' (2014) 22 Journal of Law and Medicine 155-173

Posted: 14 Apr 2016

See all articles by Colleen Davis

Colleen Davis

Griffith University - Griffith Law School

Heather Douglas

The University of Queensland - TC Beirne School of Law

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

This article considers whether it is lawful in Australia to terminate one or more fetuses in a multiple pregnancy selectively and, if so, under what circumstances. It begins by addressing the preliminary question whether selective reduction is covered by laws relating to abortion and provides a brief outline of the law of abortion in Australian jurisdictions. The article then considers selective reduction of high-order multiple pregnancies, before turning to selective reduction of twin pregnancies in a range of circumstances.The article demonstrates that the law of abortion, as applied to selective reduction of multiple pregnancies, is uncertain and that there are considerable variations from one State to another. It concludes that the law in this area is in need of reform to recognise that some reductions are not performed prima facie to prevent danger to the mother’s health and to remove the need for doctors to assert symptomatology of mental illness in order to guard against criminal law consequences. Further, there is a need to clarify whether selective reduction/termination is abortion for the purposes of the law, and to achieve greater consistency across jurisdictions.

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Davis, Colleen and Douglas, Heather, Selective Reduction of Fetuses in Multiple Pregnancies and the Law in Australia (2014). C Davis, H Douglas, 'Selective Reduction of Fetuses in Multiple Pregnancies and the Law in Australia' (2014) 22 Journal of Law and Medicine 155-173 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2764773

Colleen Davis

Griffith University - Griffith Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus, GU
Nathan 4111
Australia

Heather Douglas (Contact Author)

The University of Queensland - TC Beirne School of Law ( email )

The University of Queensland
St Lucia
4072 Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

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