The Queensland legal system is constantly under examination to stay relevant and appropriate for today’s society. Abortion is defined as the intent to procure the miscarriage of a woman, usually preformed within the first 28 weeks of pregnancy and remains a highly controversial topic. Abortion is a highly discussed topic, with views ranging from victims of rape or sextual misconduct at a young age, to religious and pro-life campaigners. It is submitted that Queensland should update their criminal code and remove abortion as a criminalized offence.
Within Queensland abortion is illegal. In The Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld), section 224, outlines that 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, is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for up to 14 years. Whilst the person conducting the abortion may be prosecuted, if the woman herself conducts the procedure with knowledge of its effect may also be prosecuted. This is outlined in the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld), section 225, she is liable for up to 7 years imprisonment. The Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld), section 226, also states that any person unlawfully supplying drugs and equipment for the procedure, with knowledge of its intended purpose, is guilty of a misdemeanor and is liable for up 3 years imprisonment. Although the Criminal Code Act of 1899 outlines several punishments for unlawful abortion, prosecution is rarely carried out. With the McGuire ruling in the District Court ruling in 1986 declared abortion to be legal if necessary to preserve the woman from a serious danger to her life or health, beyond the normal dangers of pregnancy and childbirth.
Abortion is a relatively safe procedure when done by a certified legal practitioner ("Pregnancy birth and baby", 2018). Many stakeholders argue that no woman or child wishing to terminate her pregnancy should have to ask permission from the court to receive a legal and safe abortion. As of 2008 the number of unsafe abortions performed worldwide had increased from 44% to 49%, with just over 13% ultimately leading to the death of the mother as well as the child often due to various complications ("Department of Reproductive Health and Research", 2018). With 8.5 million women experiencing complication from unsafe abortions every year with over 3 million not receiving lifesaving help. Although unsafe abortion is a global issue, it is proven that the legalization of abortion has lowered the number of unsafe and fatal abortions ("Rise of unsafe abortions 'deeply disturbing'", 2018). Victims of rape and domestic violence after already suffering the mental and physical trauma of such an experience, caring for the child in which was conceived in such a horrifying experience can be an ongoing painful reminder. Women becoming pregnant from an abusive partner...