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Monash Expert: Abortion now decriminalised in every state and territory in Australia

Monash University 2 mins read

Monash Expert: Abortion now decriminalised in every state and territory in Australia


Western Australia has become the final state to remove offences related to abortion access from its criminal code, making it the last state to decriminalise abortion.


The passage of the Abortion Legislation Reform Bill 2024 will also remove other harmful barriers to care. Patients will no longer have to undergo mandatory counselling, will not need the approval of multiple doctors, and doctors with a conscientious objection must now respect their patient’s right to healthcare.

The new laws will also increase the gestational limit from 20 to 23 weeks, and allow trained nurse practitioners and endorsed midwives to prescribe abortion medication.

A Monash University expert is available for comment on these new laws. 


Dr Ronli Sifris, Deputy Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Associate Professor, Monash Faculty of Law

Contact details: +61 488 360 033, 

Read more of Dr Sifris’ commentary at Monash Lens

Read more about the framing of abortion as a human right in: Ronli Sifris, Towards Reproductive Justice (Monash University Publishing, 2024).


The following can be attributed to Dr Sifris:

“Nationwide abortion has now been decriminalised. Decriminalisation is important because abortion cannot be a right if it is a crime, and the international human rights system has found that pregnant people have a right to abortion care. Further, abortion being a crime but still widely available creates confusion amongst pregnant people and health professionals. Finally,  positioning abortion as a matter for the criminal law stigmatises this essential form of health care and detracts from it being appropriately framed as a healthcare issue.

“One of the most significant recent developments to take place in the sphere of abortion law at the state level has been the reform of Western Australia’s abortion laws. It has been twenty-five years since Western Australia last updated its abortion legislation, and in a victory for reproductive rights that state has finally brought its abortion law in line with the rest of the country.” 


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For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, contact the Monash University Media Unit on +61 3 9903 4840 or

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