Criminal trial highlights Queensland’s “archaic” abortion law

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 15 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5805
  1. Melissa Sweet
  1. 1Sydney

The Queensland state government is under pressure to reform “archaic” laws criminalising abortion after a young couple were acquitted on charges related to a medical abortion.

In the Cairns District Court in north Queensland on 14 October a jury took less than an hour to find Tegan Leach, 20, and Sergei Brennan, 22, not guilty of charges that could have resulted in a jail sentence.

Ms Leach was charged under section 225 of the Queensland Criminal Code of 1899, which applies to a woman who uses force, any “noxious” thing, or any other means to procure an abortion.

She is probably the first woman in Australia to be charged with procuring her own abortion, said Caroline de Costa, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at James …

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