Abortion Decriminalised In South Australia From Today

“A massive win for reproductive rights"


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The ‘Termination of Pregnancy Act 2021’ became law in South Australia on Thursday after passing through the state parliament more than a year ago.

The historic decree follows decades of advocacy to remove abortion from SA’s criminal code, allowing terminations up to 22 weeks and six days gestation, without a reason.

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Hailed by the Human Rights groups as “a massive win for reproductive rights,” the changes remove abortion from the criminal legal system and make it part of health law.

“The new laws see abortion removed from South Australia’s criminal laws. This leaves Western Australia as the only state in Australia that has not properly decriminalised abortion, with abortion access regulated as an exception to criminal abortion laws,” Human Rights Law Centre Associate legal director Adrianne Walters said.

“It’s been a long, long time coming, but finally, abortion has been decriminalised in South Australia.

“The law coming into effect represents a huge win for the right of all people to decide what happens to their own bodies,” she said.

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Health Minister Chris Picton said the regulations were stalled for over a year by the former government.

“They delayed and buried these regulations and failed to explain to the community why they did not progress them,” he said in June.

“We have moved forward with these regulations to deliver on what the parliament voted for.”

- Mr Picton

Changes to the Termination of Pregnancy Act include:

  • Access to telehealth abortion care, which is especially important in rural and remote areas
  • The ability to choose when and where a woman would like to manage the abortion process
  • GP's can prescribe a medical abortion
  • Agreed consolation with two medical practitioners if the gestation period exceeds 22 weeks and six days

“We encourage all GP’s to seriously consider taking up the opportunity for education in medical abortion so they can fully support and participate in this new era of abortion care in SA,” the South Australian Abortion Action Coalition (SAAAC) said in a statement.

South Australia is the last Australian jurisdiction to decriminalise abortion.

Considered a healthcare issue, it comes at a significant time, following the overturning in the United States of Roe v Wade by the Supreme Court, making abortion a criminal act in the US.

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7 July 2022

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