Future doctors support QLD abortion law reform
Thursday 11 October 2018
AMSA: Future doctors support QLD abortion law reform
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), the peak representative body for Australia’s 17, 000 medical students, strongly supports the decriminalisation of abortion across Australia. AMSA eagerly anticipates the vote in the Queensland State Parliament to remove abortion from the State’s Criminal Code.
AMSA President, Alex Farrell, said today that Australia’s future doctors are acutely aware of the health and social impacts of limiting women’s access to health care, including the right to access abortion services regardless of location.
In NSW and QLD, the only Australian States that retain abortion as part of the Criminal Code, providing or assisting in the termination of pregnancy is a criminal offence. In Queensland, doctors currently face up to 14 years’ jail for terminating a pregnancy.
“Medical students in QLD and NSW are currently looking at a future where providing abortions for women will place them at risk of criminal prosecution. These laws discourage doctors from offering these services and restrict access for women, particularly those in rural areas,” Ms Farrell said.
“These are patients coming to doctors in some of their most vulnerable moments. We want to see these laws change so we can provide health care free of fear and stigma for our patients.”
In 2017, AMSA’s members endorsed a policy calling for the decriminalisation of abortion nationwide.
Medical students also support the recent NSW legislation to enact Safe Access Zones around clinics providing abortion services, following the footsteps of other states. However, medical students would like to see the NSW legislation further reformed to remove abortion from the Criminal Code.
“Safe Access Zones protect a woman’s right to access health care free from harassment and intimidation,” Ms Farrell said.
Medical students endorse a policy of effective referral, reiterating the imperative for doctors who conscientiously object to participating in the termination of pregnancy to refer a patient to another safe, available, and accessible service provider who does not conscientiously object.
Published: 11 Oct 2018