Physicians support Bill to decriminalise abortion in NSW

8 August 2019

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians strongly supports the Bill to decriminalise abortion that is currently being debated in NSW Parliament.

The RACP supports uniform access to safe, legal, accessible and affordable abortion services with both medical and surgical options for women who do not choose to continue their pregnancy.

Chair of the RACP Ethics Committee and bioethicist, Professor Ian Kerridge, said that “The RACP strongly supports the Bill to decriminalise and regulate abortion. 

“We must see abortion decriminalised in order to make abortion a safe and accessible procedure for women.  

“Criminalising abortion does not decrease abortion but simply increases unsafe practices and the burdens of ill-health experienced by women and children in Australia.”

The RACP believes that access to abortion services should not be open only to women whose pregnancy lies within a specified gestational range, as this may discriminate against women who experience medical illnesses that manifest in late gestation, who are in the most difficult of clinical circumstances and/or who lack access to maternal healthcare services.

The RACP support the availability of late term abortions when both the clinicians caring for the patient and the patient believe it to be the most appropriate decision. This is a position that aligns with The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ (RANZCOG) Termination of Pregnancy Statement.

The RACP does not support proposals that would exclude the patient from the decision, such as requiring a hospital committee to approve late-term abortions.

More information about the RACP’s position in regards to abortion can be found in the  RACP submission to the Queensland Law Reform Commission review of termination of pregnancy laws in Queensland (February 2018).

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