Abortion reform rolls ahead despite opposition from MP Adrian Pederick

The Murraylands' state MP has spoken out against legislation which would increase women's access to pregnancy terminations.

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Women will soon get greater access to abortion in South Australia, despite opposition from MPs including Adrian Pederick.

Legislation which would decriminalise abortion passed the lower house of South Australia’s parliament in the small hours of Friday morning.

It was decided by a conscience vote – meaning MPs were able to vote according to their personal beliefs, rather than party positions – 29-15.

Under the legislation, abortion would no longer be considered a criminal offence.

Women would be permitted to seek abortions after 23 weeks of pregnancy in “medically appropriate” circumstances, including where there are serious risks to the health of mother or foetus, as determined by at least two medical professionals.

Medical practitioners who object to abortion would have the right to refuse to help a patient, but would be required to transfer them to another practitioner.

Murraylands MP voted against abortion reform

Mr Pederick said he strongly opposed allowing abortions beyond the 23rd week of pregnancy.

He worried that increasing access to chemical abortion would be dangerous for women in rural areas.

The requirement for objecting doctors to refer patients on to another doctor would also make them “a party to the act”, he said.

“The vast majority ... of the contact to my office, especially across my electorate of Hammond, is opposed to this bill,” he said in Parliament last week.

Mr Pederick also objected to the use of the term “pregnant person” rather than “pregnant woman” in the legislation, which he said was demeaning to women.

He said he would prefer to offend a few dozen “men who identified as women”, rather than use gender-neutral language and risk offending 13 million other Australian women.

Abortion is a ‘very safe medical procedure’, SA Health says

Medical abortion has been legal in South Australia since 1970.

Medication can be used to cause a miscarriage during the first nine weeks of pregnancy; or surgery may be performed during the first 22 weeks and six days.

Only the first option is available in Murray Bridge.

Anyone who performs an abortion without the guidance of a medical professional may be sentenced to life in prison.

More than 4000 South Australian women sought abortions in 2018.

  • More information: Read about abortions or abortion law reform on the SA Health website; download the SA Health pamphlet Myths and facts about abortion; or speak to your GP.

  • Get help: For counselling or advice, contact the Pregnancy Advisory Centre on 7117 8999; call Bridge Clinic on 8539 3232; or speak to your GP.