Queensland Abortion Laws: Criminalising One in Three Women
AbstractIn an era where abortion is one of the safest and most common medical or surgical procedures, its criminalisation in Queensland serves no valid purpose beyond a form of oppression against women and a State attempt to dictate or influence a woman’s capacity to determine whether to continue a pregnancy. Sections 224, 225 and 226 of the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) (Criminal Code) criminalise the provision of, assistance in, and undergoing an abortion. These provisions contain no explicit rationale, defence or exemption. Criminalisation affects accessibility of services, availability of information regarding options, and implies a social condemnation of a woman’s choice to access abortion. Women must be ensured autonomy to make decisions that affect their own lives and individual circumstances. Policy ensuring the safe and lawful provision of abortion should be focused on the protection and promotion of women’s health and wellbeing, rather than on criminalisation and punishment.
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