We are a grassroots collective think-tank of Australians from diverse backgrounds who came together over a shared need for quality conversation and discussion around abortion. We are women,doctors, counsellors, parents, social activists, students and everything in between.
This bill repeals all laws punishing unlawful abortion. It puts NSW women at greater risk of harm in abortion by removing restrictions against unqualified persons performing an abortion (including self-administered abortions) and failing to provide safeguards to ensure women give fully informed consent. It allows the abortion of viable babies right up to birth with no restrictions at all.
The bill includes a provision for safe zones around abortion clinics which would forbid any communication within the zone that is not in favour of abortion. These ‘safe zones’ would even criminalise the boyfriend or parents of a woman seeking abortion if they are found to be asking her not to undergo the procedure. Offenders may face a penalty of 6 months in goal.
The bill also denies the right of doctors to practice according to their conscience and to refuse to participate in an abortion if they do not believe this is in the best interests of their patient. If doctors object to providing or recommending an abortion, they will be legally obligated to refer the patient to another doctor who will do so, thereby becoming implicit in the process.
Currently abortion is legal in NSW under relevant case law if the woman’s doctor has an honest and reasonable belief that it is necessary to preserve her from serious danger to her life, physical or mental health and that the risks of the abortion are not out of proportion to the danger to be averted. In assessing whether a serious danger to her mental health exists, the doctor may take into account economic or social factors and whether these factors may be relevant after the birth of a child.
Abortion must be performed by a licensed medical practitioner.
Unlawful abortion is a crime under s.82-84 of the NSW Crimes Act 1990.
No woman has ever faced prosecution for having an abortion under the current NSW law. The current law is necessary to protect women from unlicensed practitioners and to give them some legal safeguards when it comes to forced or coerced abortions.
WHO IS CONCERNED? Faruqi’s abortion bill is of major concern among medical professionals, social advocates, mental health professionals, lawyers, families and the wider community. Most importantly of all, it has raised serious objections among NSW’s women, particularly those who have experienced abortion themselves and find that the bill completely ignores their stories. Too many women have experienced pressure, coercion, abuse, domestic violence, absence of true care and informed consent, and a general lack of information and support surrounding abortion and unplanned pregnancy.
It is vital that the NSW Parliament listens to the community’s voices as they consider such grave and potentially damaging legislation.
WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY SAYING?
In April - May 2017, Galazy Research carried out a Community Attitudes to Abortion poll of 1003 people in New OSuth Wales. The poll takes a deeper look at the complex issue of abortion, asking participants for their views on conscientious objection, late term abortion, counselling, medical care and more.
Access a complete copy of the poll, including all questions asked and methodology, here.