Justice minister receives abortion law reform briefing

by Duffie Osental31 Oct 2018

After receiving 3,419 public submissions, the Law Commission recently provided Justice Minister Andrew Little with a briefing on alternative approaches to abortion law.

Earlier in the year, Little asked the Law Commission for a briefing on how to best ensure that the country’s laws are consistent with treating abortion as a health issue. The justice minister specifically asked the Law Commission for advice on how to calibrate a health approach to abortion within the country’s existing legal framework.

“Our abortion law is over forty years old, [and] starts with the proposition that an abortion is a crime,” said Little. “In February, I asked the Law Commission for advice on [what] treating abortion as a health matter could look like.”

Aside from public submissions, the Law Commission also consulted with public health professionals in the process of authoring the briefing.

“I would like to thank the Law Commission for its extensive work on the briefing paper,” said Little. “I asked the commission to gather the public’s views, and they received comprehensive submissions.”

The paper posits three legal models that outline the circumstances of receiving an abortion. It also surveys the criminal aspect of abortion law, access to abortion services, and the oversight of abortion services.