WA seeks to modernise abortion laws

Western Australians are being urged to have their say as the state government prepares to modernise the state's outdated abortion laws.

Pregnancy termination laws have remained unchanged for almost 25 years, forcing some women to travel interstate to access care that is either not lawful in WA or difficult to access.

The McGowan government says overhauling the legislation will remove clinically unnecessary barriers for women accessing abortion care and bring WA into line with other jurisdictions.

Proposed changes include decriminalising abortion, increasing the gestational limit for a procedure from 20 to 24 weeks, abolishing mandatory counselling and scrapping the need for a GP referral.

"We want to hear back from the community, primarily (from) women who've experienced the challenges of the current laws and also practitioners who have to work under the current framework," Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said.

"We want to hear what their experience has been like and how they think abortion should look in Western Australia."

Last year, WA passed legislation to allow safe access zones for women accessing abortions, preventing people from picketing within 150 metres of facilities that provide termination services.

Women's Interests Minister Simone McGurk said the changes would be another important step in improving access to abortion care.

"Abortion is a fundamental part of women's healthcare - it's a right that should be fiercely protected," she said.

"Safety, privacy and dignity when accessing abortion are vital.

"I urge women to have their say to ensure the legislation remains fit for purpose."

The legislation is expected to be introduced to parliament in 2023.