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Queensland votes to legalize abortion

Abortion will be legalized in Queensland, after lawmakers in the Australian state overturned 19th-century le...

Posted: Oct 17, 2018 1:54 PM
Updated: Oct 17, 2018 1:54 PM

Abortion will be legalized in Queensland, after lawmakers in the Australian state overturned 19th-century legislation banning the procedure.

The Legislative Assembly voted 50-41 to make termination available on request up to the 22nd week of pregnancy.

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The bill also creates "safe access zones" of 150 meters around abortion clinics to protect women from harassment by anti-abortion campaigners.

Terminating a pregnancy has been illegal in Queensland since 1899, punishable by up to seven years in prison and classified as an "offence against morality" in its criminal code.

But Wednesday's ruling marks a long-awaited victory for abortion-rights activists there, and the changes could come into effect later this year.

Lawmakers were given a conscience vote on the bill, which passed thanks to support from three Liberal National opposition members. Only one Labor member voted against the bill.

"History has been made. Women will no longer have the fear of committing a crime when making the deeply personal decisions over their own bodies," Queensland's Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Twitter.

"What a day for women. What a day for Queensland. We finally did it," Deputy Premier Jackie Trad added.

Abortion laws in Australia vary by state, with Queensland becoming the fifth to legalize it.

Queensland's laws made headlines in April, when a 12-year-old girl had to seek permission from the Supreme Court to obtain an abortion for the sake of her physical and mental health.

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