“We know that many in NSW don’t know that that abortion is a
criminal offence until they or someone they know needs to
access one but there is strong support for it being removed
from the act and decriminalised,” she said.
a draft of which has been in circulation for two months,
also seeks 150 metre exclusion or “safe access” zones around
abortion providers to protect patients against “ongoing
harassment, abuse and intimidation” outside clinics.
Faruqi sought to reassure any of her fellow parliamentarians
with “lingering discomfort” about decriminalising abortion that
the right to choose had “overwhelming support” in the community
with 70% of Sydney-siders supporting decriminalisation and 87%
supporting safe access zones.
This support was even higher in regional and rural NSW, she
said, where 80% supported decriminalisation and 93% supported
exclusion zones. Women in regional areas often had to travel to
procure abortion, sometimes “at great cost”, she said.
“The criminalisation of abortion leads to its ongoing
stigmatisation. People don’t like to talk about it. There is a
deep shame in the procedure. This should not be the case.”
“Over the decades many people – women particularly – have
suffered as a result of the criminalisation and stigmatisation
of abortion,” she said.
“Many of these wounds are irreversible, and I hope that one day
this parliament will perhaps reflect on and acknowledge this in
a more meaningful and sustained way.”