Knowledge of current abortion law and views on abortion law reform: a community survey of NSW residents

Barratt, Alexandra L., McGeechan, Kevin, Black, Kirsten I., Hamblin, Julie, and de Costa, Caroline (2019) Knowledge of current abortion law and views on abortion law reform: a community survey of NSW residents. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 43 (1). pp. 88-93.

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Objective: To report results of a community survey of NSW residents' knowledge of current abortion law and views on abortion law reform.

Methods: A total of 1,015 men and women participated. Recruitment and questionnaires were completed anonymously online using survey panel sampling.

Results: Seventy-six per cent of respondents were unaware that abortion remains a criminal offence in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and 73% thought it should be decriminalised and regulated as a healthcare service. Support for decriminalisation was consistent across genders, age groups, residents of metropolitan/regional and rural areas and levels of education. Support was strong for women seeking abortion to be protected from harassment (89%) and for protester exclusion zones around clinics (81%), with support for these measures significantly stronger among regional/rural residents than Sydney-based respondents.

Conclusions: Abortion law in NSW is out of step with contemporary community views. Residents are largely unaware that it remains a criminal offence and, when informed, support decriminalisation. There is strong support for legal changes to protect women from harassment and to provide protester exclusion zones around abortion clinics.

Implications for public health: Abortion law reform would reduce current inequities of access, be democratic and support women's autonomy and reproductive rights.

Item ID: 57317
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1753-6405
Keywords: abortion law, abortion law reform, community views
Copyright Information: © 2018 The Authors.
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2019 07:32
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3215 Reproductive medicine > 321502 Obstetrics and gynaecology @ 100%
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