In June 2022, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision that overturned Roe v Wade, declaring that the American Constitution did not protect the right to abortion. Several US states immediately banned abortion, while others were quick to enact restrictive regulation. This decision sent shockwaves around the world, including in Australia. It gave Australians reason to pause and consider the extent to which reproductive rights are protected here, and the accessibility of reproductive health care in this country.
Towards Reproductive Justice frames the right to terminate a pregnancy as a human rights issue and considers Australian laws and policies that have significantly advanced reproductive rights. These include legal measures to mitigate the impact of conscientious objection, and the introduction of safe access zones around abortion clinics. It also notes the wave of decriminalisation that has swept across Australia and the importance of removing abortion from the criminal law framework. At the same time, this book illuminates the enduring barriers to abortion access, acknowledging the remaining steps on the path to achieving full reproductive justice. Among these are the attitudes of some health professionals and health facilities, financial and geographic barriers to access, deficiencies in medical training, and persisting legal obstacles. Recent legal and policy developments are also examined, both those which contribute to the advancement of reproductive rights in Australia and those which detract from this crucial goal.