Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has been a strong supporter of abortion law reform in Queensland.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has been a strong supporter of abortion law reform in Queensland.

Abortion could soon be legal in Queensland

ABORTION could soon be removed from Queensland's criminal code after Labor introduced new legislation to state parliament.

The legislation is the latest attempt to make abortion legal in Queensland after a private member's bill failed to pass parliament last year.

The new laws are expected to pass and would grant women access to legal abortion outside of existing conditions that require the pregnancy to be a serious danger to the mother.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said in a statement the new laws would allow abortion to no longer be treated as a crime, but as a health issue.

"The possibility of criminal prosecution of both health professionals and women impedes the provision of a full range of safe, accessible and timely reproductive services for Queensland women," she said.

Under existing law, women face jail terms of up to seven years for procuring an illegal abortion. Doctors face sentences of up to 14 years.

More than 10,000 abortions are believed to be performed in Queensland every year and are mostly done in private clinics in the south east.

The legislation comes eight years after a Queensland woman and her boyfriend were put on trial, and later found not guilty, of procuring an illegal abortion.

After a jury took less than an hour to acquit the Cairns couple in October 2010, then-premier Anna Bligh told ABC Queensland's century-old abortion law wouldn't be reformed despite her personal support for decriminalisation.

She told media the majority of sitting MPs at the time would not support new legislation.

But in 2018, the reforms have had a vocal supporter in deputy premier Jackie Trad, who tweeted her support for the new legislation as it was introduced. 

Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk has also shown her personal support for the reforms.  She told media in July this year that it was a proud day for her to hand down the Queensland Law Reform's report on abortion that preceded the new Bill. 

"This is a health issue for a woman. It is not for me to tell another woman what to do when she is confronted with these health issues," she said at the time.