Right To Choose, Right To Voice
For countless of generations, society has placed their own opinions on the issue of abortion. The majority of the society have declared abortion as unethical, unjust and inequitable, whilst the government continuously maintains the abortion provisions in the Queensland legislation unchanged. This controversial issue positions many medical doctors who procure the abortion as criminals since terminating a women’s pregnancy is in violation of laws in Queensland. This essay will thoroughly examine the effectiveness of the current legislation in place associated with abortion and conclude with appropriate reforms reflecting societal values and beliefs, aimed at addressing the inadequate protection of women’s reproductive rights and medical practitioners who procure the abortion.
Most states and territories have currently legalised abortions in Australia, although each state complies with different policies on how late term abortions can be carried out. In Queensland and New South Wales, many women face legal difficulties with the government in attempt of accessing abortion services, given that it is a crime to terminate a pregnancy without legitimate justification. Abortion in legal terms, is the premature termination of a pregnancy via an artificial or surgical procedure to destroy or remove a fetus (World Health Organisation, 2016). Although, there is on no account the exact number of abortions each year in Queensland specified, it is anticipated to be somewhere between 10,000 and 14,000 abortions each year. and that half of all pregnancies in Australia are terminated and half of those are unplanned (Children by Choice, 2012). Abortion remains in the Criminal Code Act in full in Queensland, contained in three primary sections, 224, 225 and 226, declaring it a crime to perform an abortion, access an abortion, or supply drugs to be used in an abortion and for a medical professional to carry out the procedure. Section 224 of the Queensland Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) explicitly states,
“Any person who, with intent to procure the miscarriage of a woman, whether she is or is not with child, unlawfully administers to her or causes her to take any poison or other noxious thing, or uses any force of any kind, or uses any other means whatever, is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.”
However, because of precedent cases in Queensland (R v Bayliss and Cullen, 1985), it has been established that abortion is legal if the birth of the child or the pregnancy will greatly impact the mother’s physical, mental, or emotional health. To expand the limits of abortion, any person who unlawfully supplies to procure the miscarriage of a women can be liable to imprisonment up to 3 years if discovered guilty, outlined in Section 226 of the Queensland Criminal Code 1899 (Qld);
“Supplying drugs or instruments to procure abortion. Any person who unlawfully supplies to or procures for any person anything whatever, knowing...