Could Abortion become illegal in Australia after the US?

Despite Roe v. Wade as a victory for pro-choice activists, the law was criticised by anti-abortion groups who argue that it effectively legalised abortion nationwide. This controversy came to a head earlier this year, on 2 May 2022, when a leaked draft opinion from the US Supreme Court stated that it has no longer justified current restrictions on abortion under Roe v. Wade and should be lifted entirely.

According to a leaked draft, Judge Samuel Alito commented that the Roe v. Wade case was “egregiously wrong,” as reported by BBC. Four other Supreme Court Justices have sided with Judge Alito as of writing. However, the draft is not yet final and changes within its directives. 

Roe v. Wade is one of the most controversial and landmark rulings in US history. This ruling, passed by the US Supreme Court in 1973, was established to protect a woman’s right under the constitution. The verdict marked a significant turning point in the debate over access to safe and legal abortion services.

While opinions are still divided on this contentious issue, many experts believe that Roe v. Wade will remain one of the defining political debates of our time. One thing is clear: whatever happens in the future regarding Roe v. Wade and abortion rights, these issues continue to spark heated debates at local, national, and international levels.

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What’s the Roe v. Wade all about?

In 1969, a 25-year-old single woman named Norma McCorvey, alias Jane Roe, challenged the system to help her get an abortion. The woman claimed she was raped and was pregnant with her third child when she filed the case. 

Roe filed a lawsuit against the district attorney of Dallas County, Henry Wade. The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in 1973 that Roe (with a 20-year-old woman, Sandra Bensing) had a constitutional right to privacy that protected her right to have an abortion.

The Court also ruled that the state of Texas and Georgia could not place an undue burden on women’s right to privacy. The Roe v. Wade decision was established after a vote of seven-to-two.

The state placed the abortion system, which allows women to have the right to:

  • Abort during the first trimester
  • Allow government regulation during the second trimester
  • Restriction during the third trimester

However, they can only allow abortion during the third trimester if a doctor sees it fit.

my body my choice movement | Stay at Home

“My body, but the government’s choice?”

The ruling had a massive impact on women’s reproductive health and served as a significant setback for the anti-abortion movement. It was based on the principle that a woman has the right to make decisions about her own body and that the government cannot dictate what she can and cannot do with her body.

Many advocates argue that the overturn would threaten women’s bodily autonomy, eroding their reproductive rights and placing significant burdens on their ability to make decisions about their bodies. Others, however, believe that the government is within its right to limit access to abortion, viewing it as an immoral practice that violates fundamental principles of healthcare ethics.

Some commentators maintain that abortion may become illegal if Roe v Wade is overturned. In contrast, others believe that states will continue to allow women to access termination services without interference from the federal government. One thing is sure: there will be fierce debate and strong opinions on all sides as the issue continues to unfold.

Trends and changes in America’s abortion rights

Anti-abortionists have lobbied for laws through the years and have consequently won. For instance, in 1980, the US banned the use of federal funds but would do so if it needed to save a woman’s life.

Likewise, the Supreme Court restricted access to state clinics and abortions done by state employees. In 1992, the US saw the Casey case and Planned Parenthood.

Currently, the Court has to oversee the Mississippi ban on abortion in 15 weeks. If it favours this lead, this will lead to a Constitutional end of legal abortion in almost half of its states.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, over 860,000 abortions were made in 2017. However, there has been a downward trend due to the rise in using contraceptives.

Abortion in Australia | Stay at Home

So, could abortion become illegal in Australia?

Given the recent political changes in America, there is a growing concern that abortion could become illegal in Australia. This fear stems from the landmark Roe v. Wade case in the US Supreme Court, which dramatically shifted the legal landscape regarding abortions. With a new conservative majority on the Court, many worries that Roe v. Wade could be overturned, leading to sweeping changes and restrictions on abortion access across the country.

While no official changes have yet been made to abortion laws, these concerns have spurred activists and advocates to take action. Many are working to pressure lawmakers into changing or upholding existing laws related to abortion and Roe v. Wade. Others are campaigning for women’s rights groups and medical associations to come out in solidarity with those who any changes in the law will impact.

While it remains to be seen what effect this potential upheaval may have on Australia, it is clear that all eyes are now on Roe v. Wade and how its impact could extend beyond US borders. Regardless of whether abortion becomes illegal or not, one thing is clear: there is a powerful movement pushing for change, and activists worldwide will continue to fight for reproductive rights and equality for all people.

Abortion in Australia

In Australia, abortion is common, with 1 in 3 women will undergo at some point in their lives. Most abortions occur within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and very few occur after 24 weeks. While (less than 10%) public hospitals offer these services, many women prefer to use private clinics, as they can be more discreet and often have shorter wait times. 

State Legalities Remarks
Queensland Legal 18 October 2018. Read more here.
New South Wales Decriminalised 2 October 2019
Australian Capital Territory Decriminalised ACT can receive an abortion without any legal issues
Victoria Decriminalised A pregnant woman who requests an abortion is entitled to one up to 24 weeks into her pregnancy
South Australia Lawful Abortion must be done in a hospital or approved facility
Tasmania Legal Can be performed at up to 16 weeks with a mother’s consent.
Western Australia Legal Lawful up to 20 weeks with the woman’s consent or if it’s a serious danger to life
Northern Territory Lawful Abortion is lawful up to 14 weeks. Abortion up to 23 weeks is also lawful if it poses serious harm to one’s life.

Abortion costs

The cost of an abortion in Australia can vary widely depending on several factors. Generally, the cost is lower for able-bodied and have private health insurance through Medicare. Depending on what type of abortion procedure you choose, the cost can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Additionally, many women also face out-of-pocket expenses such as travel costs and medications.

What the future holds for Australia

Abortion has been a controversial topic in Australia for many years. Currently, the country has some of the most liberal laws globally, with the procedure being legal in all states and territories. However, this could soon change.

The upcoming election in Australia is shaping up to be one of the most contentious and hotly-contested political races in recent years. Among the most pressing issues currently facing voters is the state of abortion laws in the country. There has been a strong pro-life movement in recent years, led by conservative politicians who are opposed to abortion on moral grounds. Some have even put forward legislation aimed at restricting access to abortion, despite fierce resistance from pro-choice groups. Whether the next government will impact the abortion law remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: this election is sure to be a pivotal moment for women’s rights in Australia.

Dominic Perrottet – NSW Premier

As a leader in the pro-life movement, Dominic Perrottet has been a vocal opponent of abortion laws in Australia. He has consistently advocated for opposition to any efforts to decriminalize abortion, and he recently played a key role in the vote against a bill that sought to liberalize abortion laws in New South Wales.

Through his many public statements on the issue, Perrottet has made it clear that he believes that every person has the right to life, regardless of whether or not they are born yet. He believes strongly in protecting vulnerable communities from exploitation or neglect and sees abortion as a critical issue of human rights.

Amanda Stoker – Australia’s Assistant Minister for Women

Amanda Stoker, Australia’s Assistant Minister for Women, recently spoke at an anti-abortion rally in Queensland. In her speech, she spoke about her compassion for women and unborn children and her belief that abortion is wrong. She also spoke about the need to support women who are facing difficult pregnancies and to provide them with information and resources so that they can make the best decision for themselves and their families.

Minister Stoker’s stance against abortion is sure to be controversial, but it is clear that she is passionate about her beliefs. In addition, Stoker said that she would like to see more support for women who choose to carry their pregnancies to term. She believes that these women need better access to information and support so that they can make informed decisions about their pregnancies.

Scott Morrison – Prime Minister of Australia

For years, Scott Morrison has remained silent on the issue of abortion in Australia. While many believe that his anti-abortion views were made clear at a recent anti-abortion rally, others argue that his stance is much more nuanced and unreadable. Some claim that Morrison’s silence on abortion reflects a broader difficulty within the government in dealing with certain social issues, while others claim that he is simply playing politics and trying to avoid alienating either side of the debate.

Regardless of his true position, it is clear that Morrison’s stance on abortion continues to be one of the most divisive issues in Australian politics today.

Whether you agree with their stance on abortion or not, there is no denying that they’re deeply committed to this issue and will continue to play an important role in shaping policy related to reproductive rights across Australia.

While it is unlikely that abortion will be outlawed entirely, there is a possibility that new restrictions could be placed on the procedure. This would significantly impact women’s healthcare in Australia and could lead to an increase in unsafe abortions. Only time will tell what the future holds for Australia.