Abortion legalised in Victoria in 2008
Up until October 2008, abortion was in the Crimes Act - prohibited under Section 65 and Section 66.
In 1969, Justice Menhennitt made a ruling, in R v Davidson, in Victoria saying that, although abortion was a crime, there would be a defence if the abortion was seen to be necessary to save the life or health of the mother and was proportionate to the risks involved in continuing with the pregnancy.
The law as it was prior to the changes in 2008 - including the relevant sections of the Menhennitt ruling - is described in Chapter 2 of the "Law of Abortion" Report from the Victorian Law Reform Commission on the decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria.
In the intervening time, no-one had been prosecuted in Victoria for abortion.
* 2006- During 2006, some Labor MPs, namely Carolyn Hirsch, started to promote the idea of decriminalising abortion. Labor women under the leadership of former Premier Joan Kirner, say they had worked on this for 20 years.
* 2006 Election - Prior to the election, the Coalition Against the Decriminalisation of Abortion (CADOA) was formed to highlight the fact that if Labor was re-elected they were likely to pursue the matter of decriminalising abortion and removing it from the Crimes Act. This pledge to legalise abortion was also included in the ALP Platform.
* 17 July 2007 - Labor MP Candy Broad introduced a Private Member's Bill into the Victorian Legislative Council to 'decriminalise abortion' - click here for more details.
* 24 August 2007 - Candy Broad withdrew her Bill.
* 29 May 2008 - VLRC Inquiry - After conducting an Inquiry, taking submissions and consulting, the VLRC released their Report : "Law of Abortion".
* 19 August 2008- The Brumby Government introduced the Abortion Law Reform Bill into the Legislative Assembly in the Victorian Parliament. They chose Model B - allowing abortion for any treason up to 24 weeks of pregnancy and after that if two doctors approve, taking into consideration life and health and social circumstances.
All MPs had a conscience vote. The legislative assembly debated the Bill in September 2008.
* 11 September 2008: The Bill passed the Second Reading in the Legislative Assembly (9/11) by 47 votes to 35. Numerous amendments were proposed following that vote - reduce to 20 weeks, counselling, partial birth abortions, parental permission for under-17s, etc. ALL of the proposed amendments were defeated.
* 7-10 October 2008 - Legislative Council
Click here for our campaign page with full details on the Abortion Law Reform Bill (Act), voting details etc.