This Issues Backgrounder compares abortion law in all Australian States and Territories as at 5 August 2019, including both the current NSW regime and that proposed in the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 (the Bill). It also includes a brief summary of key developments since May 2017 when the last Bill proposing the decriminalisation of abortion in NSW was defeated in the Legislative Council (the Abortion Law Reform (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment) Bill 2016).
On 1 August 2019, Alex Greenwich MP introduced the Bill in the NSW Legislative Assembly as a co-sponsored Private Members' Bill. According to the Second Reading speech, the Bill is based on Queensland and Victorian legislation. Comparisons with these regimes are included in the final section of this paper where the provisions of the Bill are discussed.
This paper updates a 2017 NSW Parliamentary Research Service paper Abortion Law: a national perspective which summarises the legal framework in Australia as it then was. It also covered topics not included herein such as discussion of the reasons why women seek an abortion, relevant NSW case law and recent public opinion surveys.