Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slammed Labor for vowing to pressure NSW and South Australia to decriminalise abortion if it wins government, declaring he was “disappointed” it has been raised as an election issue. Source: The Australian.
Mr Morrison said he would not attempt to “overstep” the commonwealth’s jurisdiction and lecture the states about their abortion laws.
“This is a very controversial and sensitive issue and on these matters I have never sought to divide Australians on this,” he said.
“I’m a bit disappointed that it has been raised on the eve of an election in a very politically charged context. I am certainly not going to engage in the political elements of that discussion because, frankly, I don’t think it is good for our country.”
Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek yesterday announced Labor would demand state governments ensure abortion services are available in public hospitals when the next funding deal is negotiated.
Labor will use its commonwealth funding contribution to strongarm NSW and South Australia into decriminalising abortion, while also pressuring for the service to be available in more public hospitals across the nation.
“We’ve seen very substantial changes in laws, most recently in Queensland, but it’s not just the laws that we need to look at. It’s actually the affordability and the accessibility of those services, even when they are legal,” Ms Plibersek said.
“In places like Tasmania the barriers aren’t legal barriers, they are barriers of affordability, availability, trained workforce and so on.”
Religious hospitals would not be forced to provide abortions even if they are publicly funded or are in remote areas.
Under a $9 million “women’s reproductive rights” plan, Labor will also review the Medicare rebate for the contraceptive pill and subsidising other costs around terminating a pregnancy.
Abortion decriminalisation on radar for next NSW Parliament (Sydney Morning Herald)
Scott Morrison accuses Labor of politicising abortions (Sydney Morning Herald)