Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 (New South Wales)
|Abortion Law Reform Act 2019|
|Parliament of New South Wales|
|Citation||Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 No 11|
|Enacted by||Legislative Assembly|
|Passed||26 September 2019|
|Enacted by||Legislative Council|
|Passed||25 September 2019|
|Royal assent||2 October 2019|
|Commenced||2 October 2019|
|Bill introduced in the Legislative Assembly||Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill|
|Introduced by||Alex Greenwich|
|First reading||1 August 2019|
|Second reading||8 August 2019|
|Third reading||8 August 2019|
|Bill introduced in the Legislative Council||Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill|
|Introduced by||Penny Sharpe|
|First reading||20 August 2019|
|Second reading||21 August 2019|
|Third reading||25 September 2019|
|Crimes Act 1900|
|Status: Current legislation|
The Abortion Law Reform Act 2019, introduced into the New South Wales Parliament as the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019, is an act to remove abortion from the Crimes Act 1900, allows abortions for up to 22 weeks, and permits an abortion after 22 weeks if two medical practitioners agree. The act was assented on 2 October 2019 and commenced with immediate effect. With the commencement of the act, New South Wales became the last state or territory in Australia to decriminalise abortion.
The Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 allows a medical practitioner to perform an abortion on a person who is not more than 22 weeks pregnant and can give informed consent. If the person lacks the capacity to give informed consent to the termination, the medical professional can obtain permission from a person lawfully authorised to give consent on the person's behalf. Abortions after the 22 weeks gestation period can be performed if the specialist medical practitioner has consulted with another specialist medical practitioner. Medical practitioners are also required to assess whether the patient will need counselling.
The Act also requires conscientious objecting medical practitioners to inform the patient about their conscientious objection and to provide them with information about accessing other medical practitioners and transferring the patient to another practitioner or health service willing to conduct the termination. The Act also requires medical practitioners to provide appropriate medical care and treatment to a person born as a result of a termination.
The Act removes abortion from Section 4(1) of the Crimes Act 1900. It makes it an offense for an unqualified person to carry out or to assist in a termination; punishable by seven years imprisonment. The Act also makes it an offense to intimidate someone into having an abortion performed including for the purpose of sex selection. In addition, it is also an offense to intimidate someone into not having a termination performed.
The Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 was first introduced as the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill into the New South Wales Parliament's lower house, the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, by independent Member of Parliament (MP) Alex Greenwich on 1 August 2019. The Bill had fifteen sponsors including New South Wales Health and Medical Research Minister Brad Hazzard. MPs were granted a conscience vote on the Bill. The Bill passed its third reading with amendments on 8 August 2019; with 59 in favour and 31 against. The bill attracted heated demonstrations and counter-demonstrations by both pro-choice and pro-life groups.
The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill was then introduced to the Parliament's upper house, the New South Wales Legislative Council, by the NSW Labor upper house leader Penny Sharpe on 20 August 2019. The Bill passed its third reading with amendments on 25 September 2019. The amended bill was then returned to the Legislative Assembly as the Abortion Law Reform Bill on 26 September 2019. The Legislative Assembly accepted the amendments on the same day. These amendments included requiring that terminations after 22 weeks be performed at a public hospital; making attempts to forcibly coerce or prevent an abortion a criminal offense punished by two years imprisonment; requiring a medical practitioner to provide medical care and treatment to a child born as a result of termination; and banning sex-selection abortions. The Bill was granted royal assent on 2 October 2019 and became law.
- "Legislation Review Committee Digest No. 2" (PDF). New South Wales Parliament. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- "Abortion decriminalised in NSW after marathon debate". The Guardian. Australian Associated Press. 26 September 2019. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- Raper, Ashleigh (26 September 2019). "Abortion bill passes NSW Parliament after weeks of debate — here's what's in it". ABC News. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- "Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill". New South Wales Parliament. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- "NSW becomes Australia's last state to decriminalise abortion". SBS World News Audio. 26 September 2019. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
- "Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 [NSW]". of 26 September 2019 (PDF). New South Wales Parliament.
- "Abortion bill leads to late night debate at NSW Parliament after heated clashes". ABC News. 7 August 2019. Retrieved 28 September 2019.