Decriminalising Abortion in SA

South Australia’s abortion law is more than 50 years old. It is out-of-step with modern medical practice and defines abortion as a crime unless certain conditions are met. This makes access to abortion care difficult for many people. Here’s why:

  • Two doctors are required to approve any abortion
  • Abortions must take place in designated hospitals, which are limited in number and location
  • More than 80% of women living in rural and remote areas who need abortion care must travel to Adelaide to get it
  • South Australian patients cannot get early abortion medication from their local GP or via Telehealth – unlike all other patients in Australia
  • Anyone wanting abortion care in SA must prove they have lived in the State for at least two months
  • No alternatives to attending clinics or hospitals for abortion care have been provided during the Covid-19 pandemic – unlike for all other health care.

We’re calling for the complete decriminalisation of abortion in SA; in other words, it should be removed from criminal law and included under health law, just like any other essential health care matter. This will remove outdated legal obstacles and facilitate equitable access no matter where you live.

The SA Law Reform Institute (SALRI) report also recommends treating abortion as a health service rather than a crime. And the majority of South Australians agree – a recent study found that 80% support the decriminalisation of abortion.

A Bill to decriminalise abortion in South Australia was introduced on 14 October by Liberal MLC Michelle Lensink and will be back in the Legislative Council on 11 November for the second reading. Show your support for this crucial reform by contacting your local member – simply use the Fair Agenda email template to send a personalised message to your MP.

Want to know more?
Check out our Factsheet 7 How the Current Law Affects Services
Look at the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2020