Termination of Pregnancy
The laws on termination of pregnancy in Tasmania have changed.
After significant public consultation in 2013, The Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Act 2013 was passed and came into came into effect on 12 February 2014.
Before the new Act commenced, laws regulating access to a pregnancy termination (sometimes called abortion) were contained within the Criminal Code Act 1924.
Access to a termination is now regulated under health-based laws contained in the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Act 2013. Women accessing termination services no longer risk criminal sanctions.
The new law provides legal certainty for medical professionals, and improved access to services for women.
Background to the development of the new laws
The Department of Health and Human Services released the draft Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill setting out a revised legal framework for consultation.
Before the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2013 was passed by Parliament in November 2013, women and doctors who failed to follow specific criteria in relation to pregnancy terminations were guilty of a crime that could attract a prison term.
Such laws were out of step with advances in safe medical practices and community expectations. Proposed changes included regulating terminations under health laws and removing criminal sanctions for women and doctors. These were to ensure the law was not a barrier to vital reproductive health services and to improving the health and wellbeing of Tasmanian women.
Public consultation on proposed changes to termination of pregnancy laws in Tasmanian closed on Friday April 5.
During the four week consultation all submissions were read as they were received and the information considered as part of the consultation process.
Submissions were received from around 2050 individuals, with many of these coming from outside of Tasmania. Over 140 submissions were received from organisations.