NSW abortion laws in spotlight after Queensland MPs vote to decriminalise pregnancy terminations
Abortion's criminal status in NSW is back in the spotlight, after the State Opposition promised to review pregnancy termination laws which date to 1900.
Last week, Queensland's Parliament voted to decriminalise abortion, leaving NSW as the only state where the procedure remains punishable with a jail term.
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley said if Labor won next March's State Election, his Government would ask the NSW Law Reform Commission to review abortion legislation.
The law to decriminalise termination passed through Queensland's Parliament with a comfortable margin of 50 votes to 41.
It means abortion will be available on request at up to 22 weeks gestation there.
What are NSW's laws now?
In NSW, women are not entitled to abortions "on demand" and the procedure can be approved only by a doctor.
Pregnancies can be terminated legally if a woman's mental and physical health is in danger, however, socio-economic and other medical factors are also be taken into account.
Women or doctors who break the law face up to 10 years in jail.
In NSW, a medical abortion — which involves taking medication — is performed up to nine weeks from the first day of a woman's last period
A surgical abortion is usually carried out between seven and 12 weeks gestation.
There are also services for abortion available up to 18-20 weeks of a pregnancy.
Unlawfully supplying a drug or instrument for an abortion is punishable by up to five years' in jail.
Why haven't the laws changed?
Politicians have tried, and failed, to change the laws several times, most recently in May 2017, when a bill to decriminalise abortion was voted down in NSW parliament.
However, in June 2018 a bill to provide safe access zones outside abortion clinics by up to 150 metres in NSW was passed.
MPs have different positions on abortion depending on personal and religious beliefs.
The 2017 bill was put forward by former Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi and politicians from both sides were granted a conscience vote.
However, several pro-choice MPs expressed concerns about details of the bill.
The bill had no limit on the gestation at which an abortion could be performed, and it did not mandate that an abortion be performed by a clinician.