Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) welcomes Queensland Parliament’s historic vote to decriminalise abortion in Queensland.
The service which each year provides almost 25,000 services to Queensland women experiencing domestic and family violence is supportive of the recently passed bill that will see abortion in Queensland regulated as a health, rather than criminal matter.
Research reports up to 22 per cent of women seeking an abortion report recent violence from an intimate partner, with concerns about domestic violence a major reason some women decide to terminate.
Violent relationships often involve high rates of sexual violence and reproductive coercion. Reproductive coercion includes behaviours such as rape, birth control sabotage, and emotionally abusive manipulation to fall pregnant.
When domestic violence perpetrators deliberately cause women to fall pregnant, it can significantly impact their ability to safely leave the relationship. According to WLSQ, women who report violence as a reason for abortion describe not wanting to expose children to violence, and understand that continuing the pregnancy will tie them to an abusive partner forever.
WLSQ believes decriminalising abortion will contribute to keeping Queensland women in abusive relationships safe from further and escalating violence and control.
WLSQ CEO Angela Lynch congratulates the Palaszczuk Government for their courage on this issue and the brave Liberal National, Green and Independent whose votes aided the bill’s passing.
“The bill marks the end of Queensland’s 119 year old law and puts us in line with other States such as Victoria. This will ensure termination is dealt with as a health care issue to be considered between a woman and her doctor”, Ms Lynch said.
“Abortion is not something women consider lightly. Women seeking access to this kind of health care should not be made to feel like criminals. Abortion is a health issue that should be safe and legal. The new laws fought for by the Palaszczuk Government see this realised”.