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Law Reform for the Current Abortion Legislation in Australia

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Law Reform for the Current Abortion Legislation in Australia

Law Reform for the Current Abortion Legislation in Australia

The possible avenues of law reform for the current Abortion legislation. Currently, Abortion is illegal in every state of Australia, unless the mother is given a

Doctor’s referral, or if it fulfils the following criteria, a) It would affect the Mother’s livelihood or b) It would affect the mother’s mental state. Prolonging amendments to the Abortion legislation that would further liberate the current restraints by making abortions legal for women to obtain, is only

turning back the clock to the dark ages of gender inequality and male supremacy. Therefore, in order to honour the current state of women’s liberation, it is imperative to examine the avenues through which these current laws can be reformed in order to progress as a more cohesive and equal society. Basically, the purpose of law reform bodies is so that people like you and me can have a say in our representational democracy. There are many ways of getting

people involved in law reform, and today’s seminar will show you numerous ways in which there is an opportunity for the population to reform the abortion legislation.

1) The first option is a Private Member’s Bill. In the House of Representatives, every Member of Parliament is given the chance to introduce/change/get rid of a bill. If this projected bill or amendment generates significant reaction then it is discussed and debated further. If it passes through the preliminary stages then the members of parliament are called

for a “Conscience Vote” which entails each Member of Parliament, without

restrains including party ideology, (for example the Liberal Party tends to be

much more conservative then labour) to rely on the inclination of their own

conscience. CHANGE Basically, this allows members of say the Liberals to vote along

side Labour and so forth. However, like any avenue of reform, this option is not

without its flaws. Although parliamentarians are given a chance to vote free of

their Party influence, many will still vote according to their particular party

agenda and system of beliefs.

When considering possible amendments to the Abortion Act, a Private Member’s

Bill could prove to be very useful as it allows issues, such as abortion, to be

brought up and debated in a formal setting, which otherwise might not happen

considering the conservativeness of the current ruling party. It also allows all

members to vote according to their conscience and not what their parties

represent, which could be both good and bad. Because abortion is so

controversial, and the government is, sadly, comprised mostly of elderly,

conservative men, there is always the risk that, either they will vote with

their own prejudices in mind and therefore not be very enthusiastic about

possible reforms or they will still vote according to their party.

2) The second avenue of Law reform that I will be discussing today is a

petition. CHANGE

Petitions generally consist of some sort of statement, such as “Abortion should

be legalized” for example, people who support this statement sign to show

their concern. Petitions have always been very popular due to their

accessibility as a means of reform and the ability they hold to pressure

representatives and deputies to think or make decisions in a certain way.

However, when considering abortion, one must realize that this isn’t a small or

insignificant issue, and reform to the law is by no means trivial. Abortion

carries with it many, often very personal, connotations; for example, the act of

aborting a foetus runs contrary to many time-honoured societal perceptions such

as the importance of the family unit and the priority of a child’s wellbeing.


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