Queensland’s Deputy Premier Jackie Trad says reform of the state’s abortion laws is much needed, as right-to-life groups step up their campaign against any change on the issue.
The government will introduce amendments to decriminalise abortion in Queensland in state parliament this week.
It comes as pro-life group Cherish Life Queensland says a poll it conducted shows 56 per cent of respondents believe the state’s abortion laws should stay the same or be made more restrictive.
Ms Trad says a different poll published in the Courier Mail on Friday showed the majority of respondents supported abortion reform.
“There will be a number of polls which come and go through the debate around decriminalising abortion in Queensland,”Ms Trad said on Sunday.
“But I think the majority of Queenslanders believe that these laws, which were drafted in 1899, need to be brought into the 21st century.”
The government will introduce the bill to parliament this week, with Labor MPs to be allowed a conscience vote.
Liberal National Party Deputy Leader Tim Mander said they would wait until seeing the bill before deciding whether opposition MPs would also be allowed a conscience vote.
“We won’t be making any public comments until we’ve seen the bill, until we’ve had the opportunity to speak about it in the party room, and when that occurs, don’t worry you’ll know very clearly what our position will be,” he said.
Under the new laws, women would be able to ask to terminate pregnancies up to 22 weeks.
Doctors and medical professionals may refuse to perform abortions but must refer patients to someone who will.
Abortion is still a criminal offence only in Queensland and NSW, while the procedure is legal in Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT, and legal for some medical reasons in South Australia.