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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
    Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
    The Honourable Jackie Trad
    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    New laws to ensure right to safe terminations

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
    The Honourable Jackie Trad

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Monday, July 16, 2018

    New laws to ensure right to safe terminations

    Queensland women will be ensured reasonable and safe access to the termination of pregnancies and health practitioners will receive clarity around termination law under new legislation to be introduced to Parliament.

    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the Queensland Law Reform Commission’s (QLRC) report into Queensland’s current laws relating to termination of pregnancy.

    “This is an important health issue for women across this State,” the Premier said.

    “That is why my government asked the QLRC to investigate current laws relating to termination of pregnancy and offer recommendations to modernise and clarify them.”

    “We are delivering on our election commitment to bring forward a Bill based on the QLRC’s legislation, including any necessary provisions to support the effective implementation."

    Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said this Bill would bring Queensland into the 21st Century.

    “All other Australian jurisdictions, except NSW, recognised that these are not criminal matters. They are health choices that people should be able to make privately in consultation with health professionals,” Ms Trad said.

    “Queensland’s current laws create uncertainty among doctors about how the law works and the possibility of prosecution of health professionals and women impedes the provision of safe, accessible healthcare.

    “This leads to fear and stigma and disproportionately impacts women who are already disadvantaged, including women in low socio-economic groups, victims of domestic violence, those in rural, regional and remote areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

    Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath thanked the QLRC for their considered, impartial and expert review of this matter.

    “The main purpose of the Bill is to ensure reasonable and safe access to terminations and to regulate the conduct of registered health practitioners in relation to terminations,” Ms D’Ath said.

    “The QLRC consulted widely in their review, releasing a detailed consultation paper that outlined the relevant legal issues and sought submissions on a range of specific questions.

    “Almost 1200 submissions were received and considered by the QLRC, as well as more than 2700 submissions made by the previous Health Committees on the matter in 2016 and 2017.”

    Health Minister Steven Miles praised the report’s recommendation to ensure  safe access zones for women seeking medical treatment, and the legal certainty the laws will provide health workers.

    “These zones will protect the safety, wellbeing, privacy and dignity of patients and staff alike,” Mr Miles said.   

    “The laws will also recognise that medical practitioners may conscientiously object to performing or advising in relation to a termination. However they will be required to refer a woman to a practitioner without such an objection.

    “By finally making termination of pregnancy a health issue we will give certainty to health practitioners that they can do their work and deliver health services to women without fear of criminal proceedings.” 

    The QLRC found terminations should generally be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal matter and recommended:

    • significant reform to the Criminal Code to repeal the current provisions criminalising termination and a new offence be created for an unqualified person to perform (or assist) in a termination, carrying a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment with a provision included to protect a woman from criminal responsibility for a termination;
    • establishing a legislative regime to regulate the conduct of health practitioners on the basis of a ‘combined approach’, involving an on request gestational limit of 22 weeks and a single broad additional ground to be satisfied after that time in consultation with another medical practitioner;
    • protecting the right of health practitioners to conscientiously object to performing or advising in relation to a termination and refer the woman to another health practitioner who does not have a conscientious objection; and
    • establishing a safe access zone of 150m around premises where termination services are ordinarily provided.

    The legislation will be introduced to Parliament in August.

    Media contact:

    Premier’s Office:  Susan McGrady 0488 996 667