LEGISLATION to decriminalise abortion in Tasmania could be back before Parliament in a month.
A Legislative Council committee on the proposed Reproductive Health Bill is waiting on information about why abortions are not generally performed in Tasmania's public health system before finalising its report.
Committee chairman, Huon independent MLC Paul Harris said the committee was on track to present its report in Parliament in the last sitting week in October, leaving it three weeks to be debated in the Legislative Council and, if necessary, returned to the lower house for amendments.
The proposed legislation would introduce consent-only abortions up to 16 weeks, and require the approval of two doctors on medical, psychological or socio- economic grounds thereafter.
Mr Harriss said Department of Health and Human Services deputy secretary and former Royal Hobart Hospital chief executive Michael Pervan was expected to front the committee next month to provide the final pieces of information.
Mr Pervan is also expected to talk about the collection of data on the number of pregnancies terminated in Tasmania and why termination occurred.
The drafters of the Bill oppose the collection of data, saying it could discourage women from having an abortion in Tasmania.
The department's chief medical officer Dr Craig White told the committee yesterday that he worried telling women that information about their abortion would be held on a database, even if it was de-identified, would reverse one of the main intentions of the Bill.
"In an environment where we are trying to make the procedure more normal, women might be worried about their data being collected," Dr White said.
South Australia and Western Australia both collect data.
Dr White and policy advisor Cherie Stewart appeared before the committee to answer questions, including the requirements around the conscientious objection clauses.
Under the proposed legislation a doctor or counsellor with a conscientious objection must refer a woman seeking an abortion to a non-objecting doctor, and a counsellor who refuses to do so faces a hefty fine.
Ms Stewart said the legislation did not mean an objecting doctor could not talk to the woman about the options following an unplanned pregnancy, but they could not obstruct them from seeking an abortion.