After months of speculation the McGowan Labor government announced on Sunday that the WA abortion laws were to be rewritten to make abortion more easily accessible.
In 1998 Western Australia was the first state in Australia to legalise abortion. As the law currently stands, a woman can have an abortion up to 20 weeks gestation without having to give a reason, commonly referred to as ‘abortion on demand’.
For a later term abortion, she needs the concurrence of two doctors from a panel of doctors appointed by the government. Among other changes, they also want to remove the need for counselling prior to an abortion.
To give the changes the appearance of legitimacy, the Government has announced a 4-week community consultation period. A discussion paper has been released which makes clear which provisions of the current legislation they wish to change.
The Government is inviting community feedback via written submissions and an online survey form which gives participants the opportunity to express their views as to whether they want the current restrictions retained or removed. The questions used in the online survey are also shown at the end of the discussion paper. The survey form and written submissions need to be received by 17 December. So time is very limited!