Sexual Health Quarters celebrates landmark abortion reforms - Sexual Health Quarters
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Sexual Health Quarters celebrates landmark abortion reforms

Sexual Health Quarters is thrilled to see the Abortion Legislation Reform Bill 2023 pass state parliament this week.

The historic reforms acknowledge the importance of autonomy and privacy in making sexual and reproductive health decisions and is a monumental step towards improving reproductive health access in Western Australia.

The Abortion Legislation Reform Bill 2023:

  • Fully decriminalises abortion and brings WA in-line with other state jurisdictions.
  • Reduces the number of health practtioners required to be involved in care from two to one.
  • Removes the requirement that those accessing an abortion receive counselling on the medical risk of termination of pregnancy and of carrying the pregnancy to term, by a medical practitioner other than the one performing the procedure.
  • Provides guidance to doctors who conscientiously object to abortion.
  • Increases the gestational limit for abortion to 23 weeks, bring WA in-line with other Australian jurisdictions.
  • Abolishes the Ministerial Panel for later term abortions.

We were relieved to see all attempts at amending the Bill rejected by Parliament as they would have resulted in additional access barriers for people seeking abortion care.

Our organisation was touched by many of the passionate and personal contributions made by members of parliament as the bill progressed through both houses.

The reforms eliminate outdated and restrictive requirements that have impeded access to abortion services in our state, ensuring that individuals can make decisions about their reproductive health without unnecessary hurdles. It reflects the fact that abortion care is part of everyday healthcare for women and pregnant people.

SHQ is hosting a panel discussion on International Safe Abortion Day that delves into the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Bill 1998 featuring Cheryl Davenport, Diana Warnock, and others at the forefront of the movement advocating for women’s rights and reproductive autonomy in our state.

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“SHQ expresses our deepest thanks to Minister Sanderson and the Cook Government, and trailblazers like Cheryl Davenport and Diana Warnock for taking on these monumental reforms and championing reproductive rights and healthcare access.

“Stigma around sexual health remains a substantial access barrier to many of the vital services offered by our organisation. We are hopeful that the passing of this Bill will help destigmatise all sexual health services, reducing barriers to contraception, STI testing and cervical screening in addition to abortion services.

“SHQ has dedicated the last 51 years to delivering compassionate and professional care to our clients, particularly those experiencing barriers to sexual and reproductive healthcare.

“We had the privilege of being involved in the consultation process and are grateful that the views of service providers were central to the drafting of the Bill.

“The new laws align with our core values and mission to break down barriers to sexual and reproductive health.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to delivering exceptional and compassionate abortion care and look forward to continuing to serve our community with high quality clinical, counselling and education services.”

Debra Barnes, Chief Executive Officer, Sexual Health Quarters.


“As a provider of sexual and reproductive health services, including medical abortion, this legislation will support doctors like myself in offering the best possible care to our clients. The clinicians at SHQ spend a lot of time and energy advocating for clients and helping them navigate the barriers presented by WA’s previous abortion laws. This legislation will allow us to focus on the job we were trained for – providing healthcare.

“Those living in rural and regional areas were disproportionately affected by the previous legislation. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to improve healthcare access to people outside of metropolitan Perth, but this is a huge step towards removing barriers for people across our state.

“Sexual Health Quarters provides free non-directive unintended pregnancy counselling, and our service is always there for people who want to access it.

“I am excited to see the positive impact the legislation will have on people accessing SHQ’s abortion services and our ability to deliver high quality, affordable abortion care.”

Dr Samantha Johnson, Deputy Medical Director, Sexual Health Quarters


Debra and Samantha are available for further comment.


Sexual Health Quarters is the largest non-government provider of specialised sexual and reproductive health in Western Australia. We provide innovative clinical services, tailored counselling, and inspiring education that empowers people of all genders, ages, cultures and sexualities with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to make informed choices about their sexual health and relationships.

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