Do doctors, nurses and other health practitioners with a conscientious objection have to provide abortions?


In two states that have recently decriminalised abortion (Queensland and Victoria), legislation explicitly provides for conscientious objection. For example, the Queensland legislation does not require a doctor or other health practitioner to provide or support the provision of an abortion except in the case of an emergency. This legislation is consistent with the Codes of Conduct of medical peak bodies such as the Australian Medical Association, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and the Pharmacy Board of Australia.

Conscientious objectors must inform their patients about their objection and refer them to another health practitioner who does not have the same objection[1]. It is important that this referral take place in a timely manner.

[1] Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018 (Qld) ss8-9.