Victoria, Australia, decriminalises abortion.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Abortion, Therapeutic (Laws, regulations and rules)
Abortion, Therapeutic (Ethical aspects)
Pub Date: 11/01/2009
Publication: Name: Reproductive Health Matters Publisher: Reproductive Health Matters Audience: General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Family and marriage; Health; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 Reproductive Health Matters ISSN: 0968-8080
Issue: Date: Nov, 2009 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 34
Topic: Event Code: 930 Government regulation; 940 Government regulation (cont); 980 Legal issues & crime; 290 Public affairs; 970 Government domestic functions Advertising Code: 94 Legal/Government Regulation; 91 Ethics Computer Subject: Government regulation
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Australia Geographic Name: Australia Geographic Code: 8AUST Australia
Accession Number: 225074416
Full Text: In October 2008, the state Parliament of Victoria passed the Abortion Law Reform Bill, decriminalising abortion. Prior to this, the Crimes Act 1958 in Victoria made it a criminal offence to bring about, or to attempt to bring about, or to assist a person to bring about, an unlawful termination of pregnancy. Under the new law, a woman is permitted to have an abortion at any time during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, and a woman who is more than 24-weeks pregnant is permitted to have an abortion provided that a medical practitioner: "reasonably believes that the abortion is appropriate in all the circumstances" and "has consulted at least one other registered medical practitioner who also reasonably believes that the abortion is appropriate in all the circumstances". The new law also allows a registered pharmacist or registered nurse to supply or administer medical abortion drugs. Registered practitioners who have a conscientious objection are obliged to inform the woman of the objection and refer her to a practitioner who does not share that objection. Abortion is decriminalised without reference to gestational age in the Australian Capital Territory. Over the past ten years, five out of eight Australian states and territories have moved to liberalise and clarify abortion laws. Australia also lifted import restrictions on mifepristone for medical abortion in 2006 though it is still unobtainable for most women. (1)

(1.) Hutjens L. International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Programme, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, October 2008.
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