Abortion rights in Australia
October 14, 2010 9:12 AM Subscribe
posted by goo (22 comments total)
2 users marked this as a favorite
Tegan Leach, the first Queensland woman to be charged with procuring her own miscarriage, has been acquitted
. She faced seven years in prison if found guilty.Abortion laws and practices in Australia are complex
. Criminal matters, including abortion, are left to the states and territories to decide, and as a result abortion on demand is only outright legal in Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. The other states and territories require some claim of threat to the well-being of the mother or the child if the pregnancy is carried to term. Despite this, 80,000 to 100,000 surgical abortions are performed in Australia every year - in licensed clinics practising within the law.
Medical abortions (those using the drug mifepristone, aka RU486) complicate matters further, as Tegan's case demonstrates. Made legal federally in 2006, pharmaceutical companies operating in Australia are yet to produce or import the drug and very few medical practitioners have been licensed to prescribe it, making it very difficult to access
- and the controversy surrounding Tegan's trial has further limited the number of medical practitioners willing to prescribe it
Activists on both sides are calling for law reform
and an end to the confusion.