New South Wales, Australia is the last state in the country to lift abortion restrictions. Pro-choice activists celebrate the “better now than never” situation.
Lawmakers in the country’s most populous state voted to decriminalize abortion, overturning a law that’s over a century old. On the other hand, the widely supported move drew in criticism from pro-life advocates across the country.
The New South Wales parliament debated over the Abortion Law Reform Act of 2019 before ultimately voting to pass it. The bill legalizes abortion procedures and makes these available to pregnant women seeking it who are 22 weeks in their pregnancy. All without having to seek approval regarding their mental or physical health.
Women who are pregnant for over 22 weeks will require the approval of two specialist medical experts for the procedure.
The bill has overturned a previous 119-year-old law that makes getting or administering abortion a criminal offense. Prior to its approval, abortions were legal in New South Wales only if a doctor agrees that carrying a baby to term will pose a “serious” risk to a woman’s health. The overturned “Unlawful abortion” was listed before under the Crimes Acts. Previously, those who violated the law were penalized with 10 years of jail time.
The historic vote means abortion is now legal across the country of Australia aside from South Australia. The state only has legal abortions for specific medical reasons. Western Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory were the only states that lifted abortion regulations prior to New South Wales.