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Unionists supporting the decriminalisation of abortion

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A push to decriminalise abortion in NSW has been underway for decades.

Now, an Abortion Law Reform (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment) Bill 2016 that seeks to decriminalise abortion and enact safe access zones around clinics is about to be debated. A separate safe access zone bill will also be debated.

The decriminalisation bill is being supported by many doctors. It is also being supported by law and criminology academics and the Public Health Association.

A woman’s right to choose is a union issue because:

  • The current law criminalises working women and limits access for poor women, young women and those living in regional NSW; and
  • Unwanted pregnancy and impediments to procuring safe, affordable healthcare unfairly burden women, contributing to inequities in the workplace and job market. 

Unions in support of treating abortion as a health issue include: the National Tertiary Education Union; the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association; NSW Teachers’ Federation and others.

Below is why unionists* should sign on:

Abortion is a public health issue, but it remains a crime under sections 82, 83 and 84 of the NSW Crimes Act 1900.

One in three women in Australia will have an abortion in their lifetime and it is time to bring the laws in step with medical practice.

Outdated laws such as this only serve to interfere with the practice of medicine.

Reproductive health care, like any other health care matter, should be available without fear or impediment.

We also ask for buffer zones around reproductive health care facilities to protect women from harassment, threats or intimidation by those opposed to reproductive rights.

Polling in NSW shows 73% of people support decriminalisation and 81% support safe access zones.

Women must have the right to decide about their own bodies.

We, the undersigned, strongly endorse the Abortion Law Reform (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment) Bill 2016 that seeks to decriminalise abortion and enact safe access zones around clinics and make a united call on MPs in the NSW Parliament to support this bill when it comes before them.

*Please indicate your union (if applicable).



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