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Latest developments and events

SA’s new abortion law: So near and yet so far

In March 2021 our State Parliament passed landmark legislation to decriminalise abortion, removing it from the criminal law and instead regulating it under health law. Almost six months later the government has not yet put the new law into operation, which means that the old restrictions still apply to those seeking abortions and those providing them.

This situation is especially dire during the COVID 19 pandemic as those restrictions put patients and health care workers at unnecessary risk of exposure to the virus. Patients still must attend a prescribed hospital and have two doctors certify their approval, even for early medication abortion (EMA). Access to EMA via telehealth is still not allowed under the old laws, or from a single doctor in a general practice, whereas in the rest of Australia it can be prescribed via telehealth by GPs. 

SAAAC is now pushing for:

  • the new abortion legislation to be put into operation as a matter of urgency
  • use of the COVID 19 emergency powers of the Chief Medical Officer to suspend the relevant clauses of the old abortion law so the SA patients can access telehealth for EMA.

In the longer term SAAAC is working to:

  • ensure that South Australia’s excellent public health abortion services are supported and strengthened to provide best possible patient care 
  • increase training of GPs and registered health professionals to offer EMA including via telehealth
  • ensure that abortions later in pregnancy are made available in keeping with provisions in the new legislation and patient-centred, best clinical practice
  • support education of the general public about the new law
  • remove the stigma attached to abortion and promote it as an ordinary part of sexual and reproductive health care.

Read our media releases

Current
saaac welcomes the passing of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill on 2 March: A major step forward for South Australians, the Bill decriminalises abortion in the state and treats it as a health care, and removes outdated barriers that have limited access for more than five decades. The Bill is in the process of being enacted. 
2 March 2021 – Historic Abortion Bill passes – abortion decriminalised in SA

Past media releases
19 February 2021 – saaac welcomes the passing of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill in the House of Assembly
17 February 2021 – saaac fears unnecessary and harmful amendments will undermine the purpose of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill
16 February 2021 – saaac welcomes commencement of debate on the Termination of Pregnancy Bill in the Lower House
15 February 2021 – Experts and community groups back public call for abortion reform
6 February 2021 – saaac calls on South Australians to show their support for safe abortion care
11 November 2020 – Health Care (Safe Access) Amendment Bill passes
3 December 2020 – Bill to decriminalise abortion passes legislative council
14 October 2020 – saaac welcomes the introduction of a Bill to decriminalise abortion in South Australia
28 September 2020 – Today is International Safe Abortion Day
23 September 2020 – Safe Access Zones Bill passes the House 
(See also the Safe Access Zones voting record to find out how your local Member voted on the Bill)
22 July 2020 – More delays in abortion reform
17 June 2020 – Safe Access Zones bill delayed in Parliament
3 June 2020 – Safe Access Zone Bill introduced to Parliament
31 March 2020 – COVID 19 and access to abortions in South Australia
24 March 2020 – New Zealand decriminalises abortion in the context of COVID-19, saaac urges South Australia to do the same
9 February 2020 – Bill to ensure Safe Access Zones around abortion services in SA will be re-introduced in the lower house
6 December 2019 – A Law Reform Institute’s recommendations to treat abortion as a health service rather than a crime welcomed by the South Australian Abortion Action Coalition
15 November 2019 – We welcome the passing of the Health Care (Health Access Zones) Amendment Bill 2019 in the Legislative Council last night
14 November 2019 – saaac welcomes the SA government’s commitment to decriminalise abortion as Safe Access Zones are debated in parliament
2 October 2019 – Abortion Decriminalised in NSW
24 September 2019 – Bill to introduce Safe Access Zones for abortion services in SA
4 December 2018 – Abortion Decriminalisation Bill
14 December 2018 – Labor pledge for free and accessible abortion
18 October 2018 – Abortion decriminalised in Queensland. South Australia next?

Past media coverage
Greens MLC Tammy Franks speaks with Peter Goers on ABC 891 about why it’s time to decriminalise abortion – and how we do it, 26 February 2019
“Women and their doctors are pushing change the law in a state where most women can get an abortion for free. Here’s why” – BuzzFeed, 26 February 2019
Conscience abortion vote likely to be given to South Australian MPs” – ABC News, 5 December 2018
Labor pledges to overhaul abortion access in all Australian states” – The New Daily, 2 December 2018
Where Australian states are up to in decriminalising abortion” – by saaac member Erica Millar for The Conversation, 13 September 2018
On September 12, 2018, saaac member Catherine Kevin spoke with Radio Adelaide about why abortion needs to be treated like any other health service
Renewed push to change ‘discriminatory’ and ‘inadequate’ abortion laws in South Australia” – ABC News, 11 October 2018
Renewed push to change ‘discriminatory’ and ‘inadequate’ abortion laws in South Australia” – ABC News on October 11, 2018


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