Australia

'Historic': Queensland reacts to abortion decision

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Pro-life and pro-choice camps have reacted to Queensland decriminalising abortion.

Queensland's decision to decriminalise abortion has provoked reactions across the political spectrum.

Abortion was removed from the state's criminal code and made a health issue through a vote in state parliament on Wednesday.

The changes were passed 50 votes to 41 after both the government and opposition gave their members a conscience vote on the issue.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was pleased with the result.

"It's historic. It's taken a century to get to this point. And I'm very proud ... of the way in which the debate has been conducted," Ms Palaszczuk said.

It's taken a century to get to this point.

Annastacia Palaszczuk

While disappointed anti-abortion activists are threatening reprisals at the next election.

Pro-life advocate Teeshan Johnson from Cherish Life said conservative voters won't forget the parliament's decision

"We will help people remember, and the election is only two years away, and we're hoping that a lot of these MPs will be replaced by people who value life," she said.

Anti-abortion protesters outside Queensland Parliament House in Brisbane.
Anti-abortion protesters outside Queensland Parliament House in Brisbane.
AAP

Liberal MP  Jann Stuckey, one of the opposition MPs who voted in favour of decriminalisation, said Thursday she doesn't fear a backlash from her party over the decision.

Ahead of the debate this week it was revealed the LNP Pine Rivers state electorate council emailed MPs warning them they faced preselection challenges if they voted for the legislation.

"I've had nothing but support. I had dinner with ... a number of my colleagues last night and I feel very much that the conscience vote is being respected," Ms Stuckey said on Thursday.

Pro-choice advocate and former 'Children By Choice' counsellor Judy Petroeschevsky, said having a more gender equal parliament has contributed to the historic change in law.

"I think it’s taken a lot of courage and political will and it also helps having quite a few women in parliament."

Internationally a woman's right to safe and legal abortion is backed by numerous conventions but is outlawed in eighteen countries.

Adrianne Walters from the Human Rights Law Centre said this is a good move for the state.

"With the passing of the laws last night, Queensland joins the ACT and Victoria in being a global leader in promoting women's reproductive rights."

On the whole, Australia’s abortion laws are some of the least restrictive in the world. 

Additional reporting: AAP

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