Pregnancy and Birth

Introduction

Health law issues that may arise around the period of conception, pregnancy and birth are particularly important, and sometimes very sensitive. These include that:

  • Prior to birth some people will face difficult decisions about whether or not to continue with a pregnancy. The laws on abortion are relevant to whether a woman can choose to terminate a pregnancy in certain circumstances.
  • Negligent or intentional acts may result in the injury or death of a child during pregnancy. The law of negligence as it relates to pre-natal injury, and the criminal law, as it relates to child-destruction, may be relevant.
  • In other cases, the negligence of  a health practitioner may lead to a child being born that otherwise may not have been. In such cases, the law has developed rules around what is known as ‘wrongful birth‘ claims bought by parents, and ‘wrongful life‘ claims bought by children.
  • When a child is born, there are legal requirements and obligations surrounding the registration of its birth. Birth registration laws exists in each state/territory of Australia.

In this section on Pregnancy and Birth, you will find information about the laws in each of the States/Territories of Australia that relate to the above issues. Just click on the links above, below, or at the side of this page, to find out more about the topic you are interested in.

Note: Health Law Central also has a section on Assisted Reproduction and more that may be relevant to families, parenting and children.

Find out more