Speak up on SA’s Abortion Law Reform

Posted in Leadership

If you have a view on South Australia’s proposed abortion law reform, now is the time to speak up.

The South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI) has invited the Uniting Church SA to provide input on the reform. As the Moderator Sue Ellis stated in a previous message on this topic, the UCASA has submitted a consultation document to SALRI and will be attending its roundtable consultation session on 12 June, with other faith and NGO groups. However, individuals, congregations and faith communities are also encouraged to contribute.

SALRI is currently examining South Australia’s abortion laws with a view to decriminalise the practice, making it a regulated medical procedure under health laws as opposed to a criminal law issue. SALRI have invited comments from the community and interested parties. They are particularly keen to hear from rural, regional and remote communities.

Abortion raises sensitive legal, health, ethical, policy and practical questions. Often these questions are answered by recourse to deep personal commitments. According to a media release by SALRI, South Australia's present laws relating to abortion dates back to 1969. “The law should keep up with medical advances and changes in social and community attitudes,” it reads.

SALRI wants the consultation process to be conducted objectively and respectfully and have requested that interested parties engage and provide their views in a co-operative and courteous manner.

This is echoed by the Moderators message. In it, she urged members of the UCASA to engage in careful, fact-based and prayerful discussion, seeking the wisdom and guidance of the Spirit with integrity and humility, as discussion and responses are made to this Bill.

“SALRI's review of South Australia's abortion laws is governed by its terms of reference from the Attorney-General and these do not extend to preventing or precluding abortion. SALRI is aware that abortion is a sensitive topic that gives rise to sincere, strong and often competing views. There is no simple, universal or straight-forward position,” states the media release.

A number of online Fact Sheets have been prepared about current law, practice and the main issues, along with targeted and accessible questions, to inform any party who may wish to provide a submission.

In her previous statement on this topic, the Moderator referred people to a list of online resources made available for individuals, congregations and faith communities that wish to explore changes to the reform bill. It can be accessed through her message here.

SALRI’s online consultation happens through the SA Government's YourSAy website. The website includes facts sheets, consultation questions to consider and an online questionnaire. Interested parties and individuals have the option of completing the online questionnaire and/or providing SALRI with a more detailed submission by email to salri.new.ref@adelaide.edu.au.

The closing date for submissions is 31 May, 2019.

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