From The Age:
Women in Victoria would have the legal right to choose an abortion under historic legislation expected to be introduced to State Parliament next week.
The Age believes the bill, which will prompt long and emotional debate, would decriminalise abortion during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, providing the woman gives consent.
The bill, which will be the subject of a conscience vote, is certain to split both major parties, but pro-choice advocates are confident it will be passed.
It is believed the bill will ensure that a woman’s consent provides lawful authority for an abortion up to 24 weeks’ gestation. After that, terminations would be unlawful unless doctors deemed continuing the pregnancy would pose a risk of harm to the woman.
Health Minister Daniel Andrews, who will introduce the bill, is expected to argue that it is designed to bring the law into line with community expectations and clinical practice.
Abortion officially remains a crime in Victoria, but an estimated 20,000 pregnancies are terminated each year under the common law protection of a 1969 Supreme Court ruling by Justice Menhennitt that allowed abortions if a woman’s physical or mental health would be put at risk by continuing the pregnancy.
Pro-choice advocates, who have been lobbying for the most liberal option, will be disappointed the Government has opted for the so-called compromise mode