Abortion is lawful in NSW if a woman’s doctor believes on reasonable grounds that it is necessary to avoid a serious danger to her life or her physical or mental health and the risks of the abortion are not out of proportion to the danger to be averted. In assessing whether a danger to her mental health exists, the doctor may take into account economic or social factors that may be relevant after the birth of a child. Abortion must be performed by a licensed medical practitioner.
Women readily access abortion in NSW with over 25,000 abortions occurring each year in this state. No woman has ever faced prosecution for having an abortion under the current NSW law.
Current law provides protection for women against unlawful abortions such as those by unqualified or unscrupuous providers. Penalties for abortion providers who do not comply with the law and so damage women are severe. For example, Dr Suman Sood, was convicted in 2006 for unlawful abortions she had perfomed on five women, leading to extremely serious consequences to their health. Due to the specific abortion-related provisions of the criminal law, Dr Sood was able to be convicted of criminal conduct, in addition to deregulation as a practitioner.
The NSW Court of Appeal has also considered the legal consequences of actions of medical practitioners in performing abortions in the Marinko v Masri, where the court was required to apportion damages following a woman suffering a permanent and debilitating brain injury during an abortion.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR WOMEN UNDER THE FARUQI BILL?
See here for a Fact Sheet on the legal ramifications of the Faruqi Bill from Women's Forum Australia.