New abortion laws to be introduced
LAWS to decriminalise abortion are set to be introduced in the Queensland parliament.
Queensland is one of only two Australian states (NSW is the other) that still outlaw abortion.
The laws will be introduced on Wednesday.
One of the state government's election commitments was to introduce the laws during this term of office, after moves to introduce the changes last term were derailed by Independent MP Rob Pyne.
Mr Pyne introduced his own legislation to decriminalise abortion which had to be dumped due to a lack of support because the bills would have introduced legal complications for women and their doctors.
The government then sent its own legislation to the Queensland Law Reform Commission, which made several recommendations to the government in July.
Under the new laws, women would be able to ask to terminate pregnancies up to 22 weeks and "safe zones" of 150 metres would be in place around clinics to stop women, their loved ones and staff from being harassed.
Medical groups including the Australian Medical Association Queensland and women's rights advocates have welcomed the laws.
Religious groups are strongly opposed to the measures, with anti-abortion organisations already conducting polling to support their position and holding prayer vigils outside Deputy Premier Jackie Trad's electorate office.
Labor MPs will be allowed a conscience vote on the emotive issue, while the Liberal National Party opposition says it will wait to see the bill before deciding whether its MPs will be free to vote with their conscience.
The bill is expected to be debated and passed before the end of the year.