Where Australia stands on abortion

Abortion pro-choice supporters rally outside the Queensland Parliament in Brisbane, Australia.

(CNN)Abortion is common, safe, and the only criminalised listed medical procedure in Australia due to an archaic, flawed piece of legislation inherited from Victorian England.

Despite campaigns to decriminalize abortion, progress has been slow, and patchy across states. Here's where each state is up to.

The Australian Capital Territory

    The ACT is the only Australian jurisdiction to completely remove abortion from criminal law. Medical practitioners can perform abortions at approved facilities.
    The health minister can establish safe access zones around abortion clinics, where interfering with a person attending the clinic or causing them distress is prohibited.
    The parliament is set to debate a bill that would allow women to access abortion via telemedicine, nurse practitioners, or their GP.

    New South Wales

    "Unlawful abortion" is punishable by up to ten years' imprisonment in NSW. Case law permits medical practitioners to perform abortions on physical, mental health, economic or "social stress" grounds.
    In 2017, a woman who had experienced reproductive coercion was convicted of attempting to procure a miscarriage.
    In 2017, the NSW Coalition government unanimously voted against decriminalising abortion. Safe access zones were established in June 2018. The Greens continue to campaign for law repeal.
    Supporters of creating a safe access zone around abortion clinics in NSW gather outside NSW Parliament House in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), Australia on 7 June 2018.

    Northern Territory

    Ministerially approved medical practitioners can perform abortions to preserve a woman's life before 14 weeks gestation on physical, psychological or social grounds and between 14 and 23 weeks with another doctor's approval in the NT.
    The legality of abortions performed after 23 weeks is uncertain. Doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion must refer patients to a doctor with no such objection. Safe access zones are established in the NT.
    The attorney general has promised to review the abortion laws.


    Abortion is a crime punishable by up to ten years' imprisonment in Queensland. Case law permits medical practitioners to perform abortions "in exceptional cases" on physical and mental health grounds.
    In 2010, a Cairns couple was tried and acquitted of procuring an abortion. In April 2018, a suicidal 12-year-old sought permission from the Supreme Court to obtain an abortion. The lack of surgical abortion facilities in far north Queensland has seen women fly interstate for abortions or even perform self-administered abortion.