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The overturning of Roe v Wade in the US means that abortion is now a criminal offence in many US States.

Here in Queensland, our recent abortion law reforms are also under threat:

  • from the Queensland LNP Opposition

  • and more recently from Conservative MPs, like LNP Senator Matt Canavan.

They want to make it a criminal offence again, to have an abortion, or for a health practitioner to offer one, and to allow politicians to overrule personal decisions between an individual and their health practitioner.

What Queensland really needs, is equal access to abortion services.

  • no matter where you live – Cape York, Mt Isa, Rockhampton, Brisbane, Toowoomba, or the Gold Coast.

But if you can access a free abortion in West End or in Moggill, you should be able to do so anywhere in Queensland.

Join us in our campaign for free and equal access to abortion services right across Queensland.

Will you pledge to protect and expand Queensland abortion rights?

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Abortion rights overturned in the US

Queensland Unions are deeply concerned about the overturning of the US Supreme Court Roe v Wade decision in June this year, and we are sending a strong message of solidarity to stand with our US sisters in the fight they have ahead of them.

What is Roe vs Wade?

In 1973, the Supreme Court in the United States made a landmark decision proclaiming that American women in all US states had a Constitutional right to have an abortion and thereby overturning conservative state laws that banned abortion. 

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However, on June 24 this year, the same Supreme Court constituted by different judges, overturned that decision and paved the way for US states to reintroduce bans on abortions, associated reproductive healthcare, and introducing criminal offences for people and health practitioners for procuring or providing an abortion service.

Abortion rights are under attack in Queensland

Here at home, Queensland Unions are also deeply concerned that conservative politicians in Queensland and across Australia are already trying to use the Roe v Wade situation to once again make abortion law reform a divisive issue within our community, even though the vast majority of Queenslanders support abortion law reform.

From State LNP MP's

Recently LNP Leader David Crisafulli has refused to rule out the LNP reviewing abortion laws.

LNP MPs

From Federal Conservative MPs

Recently LNP Senator Matt Canavan has called for a ban on late-term abortions following the Roe vs Wade Decision.

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Unions have fought hard for abortion rights in Queensland

Over three years ago, that Queensland Unions and members campaigned alongside progressive community groups to make sure that Queensland’s abortion laws were changed.

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And they were. Abortion was decriminalised and new health laws permitting abortion were introduced, including important safe access zones around abortion clinics to protect people from harassment.

While we celebrate winning abortion rights for Queenslander's, in 2022, not all Queenslanders are able to currently access publicly funded abortion services, in particular Queenslanders who live in some regional areas, as well as more rural and remote communities.

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But there is more to be done...

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What Roe v Wade has highlighted is that now we’ve got those laws, we need to make sure every Queenslander who needs them can access them freely and easily.

That’s why we are asking you to join us in our campaign to ensure that Queensland abortion laws are equal, safe, and publicly funded for all Queenslanders.

 

Too many Queenslander's are being forced to pay fees to private clinics and/or to travel hundreds if not thousands of kilometres to access a service.

Organisations like Enough is Enough in Rockhampton have been campaigning for greater access to abortion services in regional communities.

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Join the campaign

I'd like some more information...

What is Roe vs Wade?

In 1973, the Supreme Court in the United States made a landmark decision proclaiming that American women in all US states had a Constitutional right to have an abortion and thereby overturning conservative state laws that banned abortion.

However, on June 24 this year, the same Supreme Court constituted by different judges, overturned that decision and paved the way for US states to reintroduce bans on abortions, associated reproductive healthcare, and introducing criminal offences for people and health practitioners for procuring or providing an abortion service.

Are there limits on when an abortion can be performed?

These new laws mean that Queensland women can now request an abortion without fear of committing a criminal offence.

They allow a someone to request an abortion up until 22 weeks, for any reason, without disclosing the reason to the doctor.

And after 22 weeks, a termination may be performed if two medical practitioners agree that, in all circumstances, the termination should be performed.

These laws apply to anyone over the age of 18 years, and to a person aged less than 18 with or without their parental or guardian’s consent. In Queensland, people under 18 can legally have an abortion if they are deemed to have capacity, that is, they are able to show maturity and understanding about the procedure and their decision.

What types of abortion are legal?

Abortion can occur by two ways – medical abortion or surgical abortion.

Medical abortion usually involves taking two medications and is an option for those who are less than 11 weeks in their pregnancy.

A surgical abortion can be undertaken after this period of time by a qualified medical doctor.

So just how easy is it to get an abortion in Queensland?

While abortion is now part of our health laws, sadly it’s still not easy for anyone in Queensland to access the services. For instance, while all public hospitals are now required to have pathways to help a pregnant woman access an abortion, not all hospitals do. Some also have arrangements in place with private clinics which are funded through the private clinics.

This means that access to an abortion service can be contingent on where you live in Queensland.

Recently, the public hospital system in Central Queensland had been unable to provide local access for surgical abortions meaning women were having to fly to Brisbane and back to access a service.

Thanks to the local campaigning of women and community groups, the Government has announced the resumption of services at the Rockhampton hospital from 11 July 2022, with further services to follow in Gladstone.

While this is great news for CQ women, this has highlighted some of the issues with ensuring ongoing access to abortion services for women who live in all regional, rural, or remote communities across Queensland.

Are abortion services free?

Many Queensland women who are living in areas where abortion services are not provided may face additional costs like fees to attend a private clinic and/or face extra travel and accommodation charges to have an abortion outside of their local area. (Footnote - Children by Choice estimates that private clinics may charge anywhere between $250 to $4000).

It can also be difficult to find a general practitioner who is available to perform an abortion with no public list of GP’s who provide abortion services available.

But I’ve seen some groups campaign against Labor in the latest rallies?

Queensland Labor were the Government that introduced our health abortion laws in late 2018. However, some political parties like the Greens and the Socialist Alliance along with community groups like Equal Love are now trying to use the publicity surrounding the US Roe v Wade decision and national rallies which have been held to send our solidarity to all US women, to advance their own agendas.

Unfortunately, neither the Greens or Equal Love were involved in the community and union movement’s campaign to introduce the 2018 laws in Queensland.

But it is important to know that Queensland’s laws are at risk of being repealed.

That’s why Queensland Unions supported the recent pro abortion public rallies in Brisbane and across regional areas, just like many unions did in other Australian states.

The truth is that Queensland laws are at risk is from Conservative parties like the LNP and One Nation, just like in the US where Conservative states are now implementing retrograde and criminal laws for abortion for both women and health practitioners.

The truth is that it was 29 Conservative Members of the Queensland Parliament from the LNP who voted against the Termination of Pregnancy Act in 2018, and it was the LNP itself which went to the last 2020 state election with commitments to repeal the abortion health laws and reintroduce abortion as a criminal offence.

It was also “former” LNP Senator Amanda Stoker, former LNP Member George Christianson, LNP Senator Matt Canavan, LNP Senator Gerard Rennick, and One Nation Senator Malcom Roberts who attended public rallies in Queensland calling for the repeal of abortion law reforms in the lead up to this year’s federal election.

That’s why we’ve created this page and space to provide factual information to members of the Queensland community and union members about this important issue and human right, and to tell you exactly how we’ll continue to campaign to fully implement equal access to these laws.

Queensland Labor were the Government that introduced our health abortion laws in late 2018. However, some political parties like the Greens and the Socialist Alliance along with community groups like Equal Love are now trying to use the publicity surrounding the US Roe v Wade decision and national rallies which have been held to send our solidarity to all US women, to advance their own agendas.

Unfortunately, neither the Greens or Equal Love were involved in the community and union movement’s campaign to introduce the 2018 laws in Queensland.

But it is important to know that Queensland’s laws are at risk of being repealed.

That’s why Queensland Unions supported the recent pro abortion public rallies in Brisbane and across regional areas, just like many unions did in other Australian states.

The truth is that Queensland laws are at risk is from Conservative parties like the LNP and One Nation, just like in the US where Conservative states are now implementing retrograde and criminal laws for abortion for both women and health practitioners.

The truth is that it was 29 Conservative Members of the Queensland Parliament from the LNP who voted against the Termination of Pregnancy Act in 2018, and it was the LNP itself which went to the last 2020 state election with commitments to repeal the abortion health laws and reintroduce abortion as a criminal offence.

It was also “former” LNP Senator Amanda Stoker, former LNP Member George Christianson, LNP Senator Matt Canavan, LNP Senator Gerard Rennick, and One Nation Senator Malcom Roberts who attended public rallies in Queensland calling for the repeal of abortion law reforms in the lead up to this year’s federal election.

That’s why we’ve created this page and space to provide factual information to members of the Queensland community and union members about this important issue and human right, and to tell you exactly how we’ll continue to campaign to fully implement equal access to these laws.

Why are Queensland Unions campaigning to support abortion law reform?

Queensland Unions have been around since the late 1880s and have always been involved in agitating for important social and political reforms.

In the early 1900’s it was Queensland union women who led the way in agitating for women’s rights to vote.

During World War II, it was Queensland unions who led the way to achieve equal pay for women working while men were overseas fighting in the war effort.

In the 1970s, we campaigned to for equal pay and equal remuneration and to remove apartheid in South Africa.

In the 1980s we walked side by side with the community to decriminalise homosexuality, and in the 1990s to introduce laws to prevent discrimination on the grounds of gender, age, race and nationality, and sexuality, and to introduce laws to prohibit sexual harassment.

In 2010, we led the campaign to achieve justice for First Nation’s people in the Stolen Wages campaign.

In 2012 and through to 2015 we led the campaign against privatisation of Queensland’s electricity assets.

In 2017, we supported the introduction of marriage equality laws, and we continue to support the removal of discrimination against trans people in all areas of life.

In 2021, we campaigned with community groups for the introduction of voluntary assisted dying laws.

And in 2022, we are working with Respect Inc to support the decriminalisation of all parts of the Queensland sex industry to ensure safety and respect for all sex workers, and to extend Queensland anti discrimination laws to extend protections to all LGBTIQ+ and gender diverse or fluid people.

Importantly, Queensland Unions has also been front and centre of the campaign to strengthen laws to protect workers from sexual harassment, and we were a key part of the March4Justice movement in Queensland which also helped lead the way. Our advocacy in this area has ensured that the Queensland Government is now leading the way with nation leading reforms introduced into the Parliament in June this year, with more work to come shortly.

Queensland Unions have always led and marched side by side with our members and with the community to see equality for all people in our workplaces and communities, and to remove unjust laws.

What's happening globally?

The US is one of only four nations to remove protections to legal abortions in the last 25 years!   

If the Queensland LNP Opposition had their way, Queensland would join this unenviable list.  

Unsafe abortions kill. Globally, religion is often the driving factor to restrict safe access to reproductive health services.  As we know, laws prohibiting abortions do not stop abortions, they just stop safe abortions.  

 

Global estimates from 2010–2014 demonstrate that 45% of all induced abortions are unsafe. Of all unsafe abortions, one third were performed under the least safe conditions, i.e., by untrained persons using dangerous and invasive methods. 

Developing countries bear the burden of 97% of all unsafe abortions. More than half of all unsafe abortions occur in Asia, most of them in south and central Asia. In Latin American and Africa, the majority (approximately 3 out of 4) of all abortions are unsafe. In Africa, nearly half of all abortions occur under the least safe circumstances (2). 

 

From <https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/abortion 

Around 73 million induced abortions take place worldwide each year. Six out of 10 (61%) of all unintended pregnancies, and 3 out of 10 (29%) of all pregnancies, end in induced abortion (1). 

There are just 12 nations world-wide where abortion is prohibited altogether; Egypt, Iraq, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Congo (Brazzaville), Madagascar, Lao, The Philippines, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Suriname.  

According to the comprehensive data base and global map produced by the Center for Reproductive Rights  further limitations restricting safe access to abortion may be restricted pending the following criteria; to save the woman’s life, to preserve health, broad social and economic grounds.  

Key facts about abortion (from WHO) . Abortion (who.int) 

  • Abortion is a common health intervention. It is safe when carried out using a method recommended by WHO, appropriate to the pregnancy duration and by someone with the necessary skills. 
  • Six out of 10 of all unintended pregnancies end in an induced abortion. 
  • Around 45% of all abortions are unsafe, of which 97% take place in developing countries. 
  • Unsafe abortion is a leading – but preventable – cause of maternal deaths and morbidities. It can lead to physical and mental health complications and social and financial burdens for women, communities and health systems. 
  • Lack of access to safe, timely, affordable and respectful abortion care is a critical public health and human rights issue. 

 

  1. Bearak J, Popinchalk A, Ganatra B, Moller A-B, Tunçalp Ö, Beavin C et al. Unintended pregnancy and abortion by income, region, and the legal status of abortion: estimates from a comprehensive model for 1990–2019. Lancet Glob Health. 2020 Sep; 8(9):e1152-e1161. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30315-6 

2.  Ganatra B, Gerdts C, Rossier C, Johnson Jr B R, Tuncalp Ö, Assifi A et al. Global,     regional, and subregional classification of abortions by safety, 2010–14: estimates from a Bayesian hierarchical model. The Lancet. 2017 Sep 

 

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