The Minister of Justice has written to the Law Commission noting the Government’s intention to propose a policy shift to treat abortion as a health issue.
The Minister has asked the Commission, as a matter of priority, to provide advice on what alternative approaches could be taken in the legal framework to align with a health approach.
The scope of the Law Commission’s advice to the Minister will include reviewing the criminal aspects of abortion law, the statutory grounds for an abortion and the process for receiving services. These are contained in the Crimes Act 1961 and the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977.
The Law Commission will provide its advice in the form of a Ministerial briefing paper within eight months of the Minister’s 27 February 2018 request.
When developing its advice, the Commission will seek input from appropriate health professionals.
The public were given the opportunity to provide their views on this project between 4 April and 18 May 2018. Many people shared their views with the Commission. The Commission is now considering those views as it prepares its briefing for the Minister.