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ACN calls for decriminalisation of abortion in QLD and NSW

The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is calling on QLD and NSW to fall in line with legislation of other states and territories to decriminalise abortion.

ACN chief executive Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward told Nursing Review it was important that in the twenty first century outdated laws are updated to enable the legal system to reflect modern standards.

“[Abortion] shouldn’t be a criminal act that has implications for clinicians, doctors, midwives and nurses, or any party that’s involved that could be prosecuted under the Criminal Act in this point in time,” Ward said.

She added that there should be national consistency around consumer rights in health care to match public support on the issue.

“We're passionate about access and equity for consumers, and as it stands women in QLD and NSW can't access these services so they’re crossing over state and territory borders,” she said.

Ward said that even once decriminalised, governments must invest in after care facilities, citing that though Tasmania has decriminalised abortion, there are no clinics in the state and women need to travel to the mainland for care.

She said there should be clinics to maintain care after termination, especially in rural and remote locations.

"We know there’s major disparities between cities and rural Australia and less access to medical services in these communities … and we don’t want to disadvantage those who chose to have a life in remote, regional or rural Australia," she said.

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