Tasmania's Chief Medical Officer has described allowing abortions up to 16 weeks as a "middle ground approach".

An Upper House inquiry has held a second day of public hearings into changes to abortion laws.

A bill which passed the Lower House in April would remove abortion from the criminal code, and allow terminations up to 16 weeks on advice from a doctor.

The Health Department's submission to the inquiry supports the bill, stating it will improve the health and wellbeing of Tasmanian women.

Chief Medical Officer Craig White told the inquiry supporting a gestational limit of 16 weeks was a pragmatic decision.

"We've taken a view that 16 weeks is a bit of a middle ground approach," he said.

"It's not as short as some would like and it's not as long as others would argue."

But Dr White admitted his preference would have been to allow terminations up to 24 weeks.

"Sixteen (weeks) is acceptable and better than where we are now, 24 weeks would be better."

"It does give women a bit of scope to consider scan findings or other information that's provided to them."

He believes it is more important that terminations be removed from the criminal code.

"It was seen as more important to decriminalise and to get the threshold to 16 weeks than to come in saying 'we've got to have everything or nothing'."

The department says re-framing terminations in a health, not a criminal context, will improve access for women.

"I think it is just another medical procedure," he said.

"It's just that different people have a range of views about it and tend to judge it in ways that they don't judge other medical procedures."

 

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