Queensland abortion reform removes it from the criminal code

A woman with a pregnancy test, looks upset.
Photo credit: File

Queensland MPs have voted to overhaul the state's abortion law and remove the procedure from the criminal code.

The Termination of Pregnancy Bill passed its second reading on Wednesday night after a conscience vote, Brisbane Times reports.

Once the new regulations come into place, abortions will be able to be requested up to 22 weeks into a pregnancy and will allow for a safe zone of 150 metres around clinics.

It also allows abortion after 22 weeks with the consent of two doctors and requires conscientious objectors to refer women to a medical practitioner that will perform a termination.

The procedure will also be removed from the criminal code, leaving New South Wales the only Australian jurisdiction where abortion is still a criminal offence.

The final vote following amendments was 50 to 41. Dozens of people watching from the public gallery cheered and applauded when the vote passed.

Liberal MP Dale Last said he could not support the Bill as he was worried women would consider abortions for sex-selection, following a change in relationship or becoming unemployed.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad told the Brisbane Times she was pleased with the Bill's passing.

"The right of women to control their own reproduction, their own bodies, is such an important part of equality in our society," she said.

"To prioritise the rights of a fetus above that of a woman is something that I find offensive.

"Because the logical conclusion to that argument is that a woman should be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy."

Ms Trad rejected arguments the changes would allow for late term abortions, pointing out that currently 99 percent of abortions performed in Queensland are under 20 weeks.

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