In January 2015, Leoba Davana and her husband, James Channel, made the difficult decision to terminate their pregnancy. In October 2015 both Leoba and James were sentenced by the National Court in Arawa to five years in jail. Their case will be reviewed by the PNG Supreme Court in the coming weeks.
On 26 August 2016, a report of the bipartisan committee of the Queensland Parliament inquiring into abortion law reform in the state was released. The committee found itself unable to make a recommendation that the Pyne bill be passed by Parliament as “it failed to address a number of important policy issues and to achieve a number of its own stated objectives”.
Two strories: The Tabbot Foundation safely provided their first 1,000 medical abortions through their telephone abortion service on 9 August, just 300 days after their launch. And, access to medical abortion pills is limited in Australia by the fact that relatively few general practitioners (GPs) offer the service, and some young women, particularly in rural areas, are still not even aware they may use the pills instead of having a surgical abortion.
In response to anti-abortion harassment of women going into the local hospital for abortions, the pro-choice group in Thames, New Zealand, vowed to demonstrate each week alongside them. On 4 August, 40 people attended a pro-choice community meeting in the town, and the group held its first pro-choice demonstration on 5 August to support women seeking abortion services.
On 11 August, New South Wales Green MP, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, gave the second reading speech for the Abortion Law Reform (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment) Bill 2016 in the Upper House of the New South Wales (NSW) parliament. It is the first abortion law reform bill in NSW history. The text of the bill and explanatory notes can be found here.
Independent Queensland MP Rob Pyne has tabled a private member’s bill calling for abortion to be removed from the state’s criminal code.Public hearings to discuss the bill are due to be held across the state in the coming months, with the committee reporting back to the state parliament with its findings and recommendations by 26 August. Both major parties have already said they would allow their MPs a conscience vote on the issue.
The Tabbot Foundation was first launched in Tasmania and is now moving to become a registered charity to ensure the service is sustained into the future. The Foundation’s website averages 120 hits a day, sometimes generates up to 90 calls a day and consults with between 30 and 40 patients each week.
The service, launched eight months ago, has so far provided more than 850 medical terminations, with many of its referrals coming from GPs.
The Green Party has pledged to make it safer, cheaper and easier for Australian women to get abortions in a $15 million election commitment, including support for the decriminalisation of abortion at state level and cutting out-of-pocket expenses through a review of rebates.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) Victoria and senior obstetricians urged Victorian politicians to vote down a new abortion bill that would jeopardise good medical practice. On 25 May, they did vote it down, by 27 to 11 votes.