Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk gestures during Question Time at Parliament House in Brisbane, Wednesday, June 13, 2018.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk gestures during Question Time at Parliament House in Brisbane, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. AAP Image - Dave Hunt

Queensland could decriminalise abortion by end of 2018

UPDATE: LAWS to decriminalise abortion could be passed by the end of the year with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirming a Bill to remove the procedure from the Criminal Code will be introduced next month and debated in October.

"This is a very proud day for me," Ms Palaszczuk said as she handed down the Queensland Law Reform Commission's report into the new laws.

"This is a health issue for a woman. It is not for me to tell another woman what to do when she is confronted with these health issues.

"It is a matter between her and her doctor.

"This is about bringing Queensland into the 21st century. For so long this archaic law has sat on our statute books. Today Cabinet has approved and caucus has endorsed the introduction of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill."

Ms Palaszczuk and her Deputy Jackie Trad implored the LNP to give its MPs a conscience vote with Labor MPs to be given one on the issue.

But the Premier would not say if Labor would have the numbers to pass the new laws on its own.

"I want every member of parliament to read that report. It is very comprehensive. It sets out a very clear way forward and I think that members should be allowed the time to read that report in detail," she said.

The new laws will also create a new offence to stop unqualified persons performing abortions. It will attract a jail sentence of up to seven years.

Opposition MPs will likely be granted a conscience vote on the laws and bring in protest buffer zones around clinics, but LNP Leader Deb Frecklington wants to see the details first.

Ahead of the report's release, Ms Frecklington said: "In the past it is by matter of principle that the members of the LNP have been granted a conscience vote for issues around beginning and end of life so that would appear to be appropriate.".

"But what I would say is we have seen in the last parliament a piece of legislation that was on this topic that was completely abhorrent, that went to full term abortion.

"So I think before we get into the details we need to see what we are dealing with."

Ms Frecklington said she would seek a briefing on the proposed changes.

"This is a highly emotive issue. Our party has strong views on it, many of our members would have strong views on it and that is reflective of the general public.

"I think it is important that I do get a briefing from the Law Reform Commission.

"I do think that I need to give my party members an opportunity to see what is in the legislation before we make any rash statements in relation to this piece of legislation."

 

EARLIER: PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk is set to today release the Queensland Law Reform Commission's report into decriminalising abortion in Queensland.

It comes as her Government prepares to introduce new laws next month to remove the procedure from the criminal code.

The Courier-Mail understands Ms Palaszczuk will release the QLRC's report as well as the Government's response to it following today's Cabinet meeting.

The new laws will be introduced in August and are expected to come back to the house for debate in October, allowing them to be passed before the end of the year.

The legislation will decriminalise abortion and allow for new safe access zones around clinics where abortions are being performed to stop patients from harassed.

Queensland and NSW are the only two states where abortion remains a crime unless a woman's life or mental health is at risk.



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