Issued: 18/10/2018

The historic vote to legalise abortion in Queensland will bring clarity to the practice of family law on the issue, says leading Gold Coast lawyer, Mr Anton Richardson.

Legislation decriminalising abortion in Queensland passed through State Parliament on October 17.

“Though few and far between, there have been some cases where a father has sought an injunction restraining the mother from terminating her pregnancy,” said Mr Richardson, Family Law Partner at MBA Lawyers.

“Those applications were unsuccessful in that they would have had the effect of forcing a mother to carry a child to term.

“However, this new clarity on abortion law provides certainty for women seeking termination of their pregnancies, as well as for health professionals.”

Mr Richardson said that while previously the Criminal Code made it a crime to unlawfully terminate a pregnancy, it didn’t define “unlawfully” for those relevant sections. This created uncertainty among doctors, which in turn negatively impacted the accessibility and availability of termination services.

“Now women can access those services and these can be provided by health professionals without fear or stigma,” he said.

Mr Richardson said abortion was an incredibly challenging issue when people sought legal avenues.

“It is extremely emotional to discuss with fathers where a mother wishes to terminate,” he said.

“Similarly, it is sometimes difficult for fathers who do not wish for the child, to learn that they are liable to contribute towards the maintenance and expenses of the mother.”