Abortion decriminalised in Queensland

Abortion will be removed from Queensland's criminal code.

Abortion will no longer be a crime in Queensland after historic laws passed state parliament.

The laws remove abortion from the criminal code, allow terminations up to 22 weeks’ gestation and establish safe access zones of 150 metres around clinic to prevent women being harassed.

“We now join other jurisdictions, both in Australia and around the world, in recognising termination as a health matter,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement.

“These changes affirm the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to respecting the rights and autonomy of women.”

The Termination of Pregnancy Bill was passed on Wednesday 17 October 2018, with MPs voting 50-41 in favour in a conscience vote.

Labor Member for Logan Linus Power abstained from the vote.

Ms Palaszczuk said the Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018 will ensure women can access services and health professionals can provide these services without fear or stigma.

“The Palaszczuk Government is proud to deliver on our election commitment to modernise and clarify the laws around termination of pregnancy,” she said.

“We now join other jurisdictions, both in Australia and around the world, in recognising termination as a health matter.”

Health Minister Steven Miles said the new laws would protect health workers doing their job and going to and from work.

“Nobody should have to wonder every day if they are breaking the law, nobody should be harassed going to work, least of all our hardworking doctors and nurses who are looking after Queenslanders,” he said.

“These laws provide our doctors and nurses with that certainty.”

Attorney General Yvette D’Ath said the laws would finally bring Queensland into the 21st Century.

“Termination is never an easy option for any woman, and no one ever makes this decision lightly, but all women across Queensland should have the right to make the decision for themselves and without fear of criminal prosecution,” she said.


The bill was passed after two days of emotional debate in state parliament.

LNP member Mark McArdle had sought amendments to the bill, including lowering the limit from 22 weeks gestation to 16 weeks.

“I will state that at 16 weeks the foetus is about to undergo significant change in relation to what it will finally become,” he told parliament.

“At that point (16 weeks), significant tests are undertaken in relation to spina bifida, abnormalities and other matters that could impact upon both the foetus and the mother.

“In my opinion, at 16 weeks we need to take into account the commission’s statement that there needs to be greater recognition and protection of the foetus.”

The Termination of Pregnancy Act also allows terminations after 22 weeks gestation where two medical practitioners agree that it is appropriate, taking into account relevant circumstances;

Queensland Health will roll out a comprehensive implementation plan for health professionals, including the establishment of a women’s health line.

The act commences on 3 December 2018.

NSW is the only state or territory in Australia where abortion remains a criminal offence.