In the early hours of this morning, the House of Assembly passed the Termination of Pregnancy Bill (the Bill). It’s a historic move for South Australia- the Bill will remove provisions from the criminal code which mean women and pregnant people can still be charged for obtaining an unlawful abortion.
After more than 20 hours of debate, the Bill was passed with a number of amendments. Problematic amendments included the regulation of ‘sex-selective’ abortion which risks amplifying racial profiling and discrimination in our healthcare system. While the amendments are not ideal; on merit, the Bill is a move in the right direction and we welcome the opportunity for increased access to abortion care.
The Bill needs to return to the Legislative Council as soon as possible and passed in the current form. The legislative framework will enable improved regional and remote access to abortion care. The Bill had already passed the Legislative Council late last year with fewer regulations, so this final review is anticipated to be a streamlined process.
We are grateful to SA Health and the Marshall Government for their support of the Bill. Over the coming months and years we look forward to supporting South Australian health policy development and implementation.
The fight to modernise these laws has been going for decades. We acknowledge and thank all of those who have collaborated for bodily autonomy and reproductive justice, including the South Australian Abortion Action Coalition, Fair Agenda, and the Human Rights Law Centre.
Jamal Hakim, Managing Director
“The passing of the Bill is a step towards modernising the State’s laws, will provide certainty for healthcare professionals, and will stop treating women and pregnant people seeking abortion care as criminals.”
“It was disappointing to watch the sex-selective abortion amendment pass. It is vital that patients from migrant backgrounds are able to access the abortion care they need without fear of vilification or increased restrictions due to discrimination.”
“The Legislative Council needs to pass the Bill as soon as possible, so South Australia can have a legislative framework that enables better regional and remote access to abortion care.”
“Thank you to the courageous and compassionate politicians who spoke out for this historic legislative reform.”
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For further information or to interview Jamal Hakim contact, Marie Stopes Australia, 0428 396 391
Marie Stopes Australia is a national not for profit provider of sexual and reproductive health services including permanent and long-acting reversible contraception and abortion care. For more information on our clinic network visit mariestopes.org.au.