SA abortion laws outdated: Politicians urged to accept SA Law Reform Institute recommendations

6th Dec 2019

Recommendations to reform outdated abortion laws, made by the South Australian Law Reform Institute in a report released this week, have been welcomed by the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) in SA.

The report recommends that abortion is decriminalised and becomes a regulated medical procedure under health law rather than a criminal law issue.

“We strongly urge South Australian politicians to accept the recommendations made in this report,” said ALA state president, Ms Sarah Vinall. “The report recommends two alternative models for the government to consider but, importantly, under either model abortion is considered a health issue rather than a criminal law matter.

“We call on all politicians to listen to the many health care, medical and legal organisations that have been calling for the decriminalisation of abortion for many years.

“It is shocking that South Australian women still fear being prosecuted for accessing a safe medical procedure.

“Removing abortion primarily from the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1936 (SA) recognises the dangerous consequences of its criminalisation – both for women undergoing an abortion procedure and medical practitioners. Evidence suggests that criminalising abortion does not decrease abortion rates but merely increases unsafe procedures.

‘We are also pleased to see that the report identified a real need for safe access   around premises where abortion services are provided in South Australia to protect the privacy, welfare and dignity of both staff and patients from harassment, obstruction and intimidation.

“The current laws are out-of-date and inconsistent with international human rights standards, which recognise the right to reproductive choice, access to safe health care and equality for women before the law.”

The South Australian Law Reform Institute full report - ‘Abortion: A Review of South Australian Law and Practice’ - can be read here.

The ALA is a national association of lawyers, academics and other professionals dedicated to protecting and promoting justice, freedom and the rights of the individual.

Tags: South Australia Abortion