How the Criminal Law in Australia Has Failed to Promote the Right to Life for Unborn Children: A Need for Uniform Criminal Laws on Abortion across Australia


  • Patrick Ferdinands



This article contends that human life has an intrinsic value from the moment of its conception based on its potential use to the community. This value to the community demands protection from the state. However, there is also a need to balance this aim against the legitimate health interests of pregnant women. Abortions should be permitted only in circumstances where the abortion is necessary to preserve the pregnant woman from any serious danger to her physical or mental health. This article shows that the lack of uniformity in Australia’s criminal law in the area of abortion plays a part in unduly undermining the right to life of unborn children. Accordingly, there is a need for effective uniform criminal laws throughout Australia that properly protect the right to life of unborn children and are duly sensitive to the valid health interests of pregnant women that give rise to circumstances justifying abortion.