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 (because the law pre-dates Telehealth technology)
  • 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 This will remove outdated legal obstacles and facilitate equitable access no matter where you live.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.

The Bill to decriminalise abortion in South Australia (officially known as the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2020) passed the Legislative Council on Wednesday 2 December. It now goes to the House of Assembly for debate in the new year. The Bill was introduced on 14 October by Liberal MLC Michelle Lensink.

Show your support for this crucial reform by sending a pro-reform message to your local Member of Parliament using Fair Agenda’s quick and easy email tool. It tells you how your MP stands on the Bill – whether they support it, oppose it or are undeclared. You can either use the Fair Agenda wording or personalise your message.

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