Termination of a minor’s pregnancy : critical issues for consent and the criminal law
The recent Supreme Court decision of Queensland v B  2 Qd R 562 has significant implications for the law that governs consent and abortions. The judgment purports to extend the ratio of Secretary, Department of Health and Community Services (NT) v JWB and SMB (1991) 175 CLR 218 (Marion’s Case) and impose a requirement of court approval for terminations of pregnancy for minors who are not Gillick-competent. This article argues against the imposition of this requirement on the ground that such an approach is an unjustifiable extension of the reasoning in Marion’s Case. The decision, which is the first judicial consideration in Queensland of the position of medical terminations, also reveals systemic problems with the criminal law in that State. In concluding that the traditional legal excuse for abortions will not apply to those which are performed medically, Queensland v B provides further support for calls to reform this area of law.
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