The Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 ensures termination of pregnancy (abortion) is treated as a health issue rather than a criminal issue. The Act:
- establishes a health centered approach for terminations of pregnancy
- supports a woman's right to health, including reproductive health and autonomy
- provides clarity and safety for health practitioners providing abortions
What happens if my doctor consciously objects to perform a termination of pregnancy (abortion)?
Termination of pregnancy is a safe, common and legal reproductive health choice. It is available in a range of public and private settings. The Act provides clarity for health practitioners providing abortions.
The new legislation details the steps a registered health practitioner must take if they ‘conscientiously object’ to performing or assisting in the performance of a termination of pregnancy, making a decision about whether a termination of pregnancy should be performed, or advising about the performance of a termination of pregnancy, because it conflicts with their own personal beliefs, values or moral concerns.
Any registered health practitioner who is asked to advise about termination of pregnancy, or perform, or assist in a termination of pregnancy, who has a conscientious objection to termination of pregnancy must tell you in a timely fashion.
If a health practitioner declines to perform or assist with the termination of pregnancy, they must:
- provide you with information on how to locate or contact a service provider or a medical practitioner who does not have a conscientious objection to the performance of the termination of pregnancy and /or
- provide the contact details for a NSW Government service that provides information about a range of health services and resources including information about medical practitioners who do not have a conscientious objection to the performance of termination of pregnancy or
- transfer your care to another practitioner who they reasonably believe can provide the termination of pregnancy and does not have a conscientious objection to the termination of pregnancy.
If you feel your doctor has not done this you can make a complaint via the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission or the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).