Member for Southern Downs James Lister was one of 41 votes against legalising abortion.
Member for Southern Downs James Lister was one of 41 votes against legalising abortion. Contributed

Abortion legalised but Lister not on board

QUEENSLAND women will now be able to choose to have an abortion without risking criminal prosecution.

It took just 50 votes to alter the lives of countless women across the state, when MPs voted to scrap laws making abortion illegal last Wednesday night.

The laws took two full days to debate, with dozens of MPs wanting to speak to the bill, with 50 politicians voting for and 41 against.

Only six female MPs voted against the bill, with the other 35 no votes belonging to men, one being Member for Southern Downs James Lister.

"I understand this is a very emotive and personal issue and this debate arises a great variety of passions," Mr Lister said.

The State MP said he felt the "vast majority" of the Southern Downs was on board with his vote against the bill.

"I would say 2 per cent have come to me and said they want this bill to be supported.

"I oppose this bill because in my view it's flawed, divisive and importantly it's unnecessary and extreme. It's unnecessary because the obvious factor that there hasn't been a single conviction in the history of the current law, which is over 100 years, for procuring an abortion."

The laws passed in state parliament will allow women to request an abortion up to 22 weeks gestation and also beyond, if the medical practitioner performing the termination has consulted with a second medical practitioner and both agree the abortion should be performed.

"I think that 22 week mark is a disturbing one. A baby at 22 weeks can be viable," he said. The changes also establish safe zones around clinics and medical facilities.

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