1. ‘Historic’ abortion reforms pass in Qld.
Queensland’s abortion law reforms have been hailed as historic after they passed through parliament.
Under the changes, abortion will be removed from the criminal code and made a health issue, allowing women to terminate pregnancies up to 22 weeks’ gestation.
Terminations after 22 weeks will be allowed with the approval of two independent doctors.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the changes will ensure women can access safe and legal terminations without fear or stigma.
“This is an historic day for Queensland. The Palaszczuk government is proud to deliver on our election commitment to modernise and clarify the laws around termination of pregnancy,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Wednesday night.
The changes also establish safe zones around clinics and medical facilities offering the procedure to stop staff and patients being harassed by anti-abortion activists.
They were passed 50 votes to 41 after both the government and opposition gave their members a conscience vote on the issue.
Opposition MPs Steve Minnikin, Jann Stuckey and former opposition leader Tim Nicholls voting in favour of the changes.
Mr Nicholls told reporters after the vote that he thought he had made the right decision.
“I think it was and will be seen to as an historic day for all the right reasons,” he said.
“I accept people won’t like the decision I have made, but ultimately that is down to me and my conscience.”