The bill to decriminalise abortion in South Australia, reported in this newsletter last week, passed the State Parliament’s Lower House on 18 February 2021, following a heated and lengthy debate that went on until just after 2am. The vote was 29 for, 15 against. Members of Parliament had a conscience vote on the bill. It decriminalised abortion and moved regulation into healthcare legislation. The controversy was to do with allowing abortions after 23 weeks if there is a threat to the woman’s life or another fetus, or if there is a significant risk of serious fetal anomalies associated with the pregnancy, or if there is a significant risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman, all of which were finally passed. Provisions around informed consent were strengthened during the debate and an amendment was added that prevents the termination of pregnancy on the basis of the sex of the fetus.
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said it was an historic day for the women of South Australia. “It makes abortion a health issue, not a criminal one, and makes explicit the higher standard of medical care and decision making that already exists in South Australia. This is about giving women choice.”
It seems the bill now has to return to the Upper House, presumably because it has been amended, although it was already approved there in 2020.
SOURCE: ABCnet.au, by Natarsha Kallios, 18 February 2021 ; PHOTO: MPs and supporters of the bill, https://twitter.com/HanSouthcombe/status/1362442975591108621/photo/1, 18 February 2021
SEE ALSO: ICWRSA Newsletter, 19 February 2021