After a protracted debate, abortion has been decriminalised
in New South Wales.
The bill to remove abortion from the Crimes Act was amended in the upper house, before returning to the lower house.
The bill passed on voices, meaning that no division was required.
The amendments include tighter restrictions on late-term terminations, guidelines for when a person lacks the ability to give consent, protection for doctors who conscientiously object, and the prevention of sex-selection terminations.
The upper house debated the bill over five days, with 102 amendments proposed.
NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro said
that the passing of the bill was, “historic for the state, decriminalising
abortion, taking it out of criminal act and putting it in the health act where
it should be, and not treating women like criminals.”
New South Wales now joins every other Australian state and territory in decriminalising abortion.
NSW and ACT Moderator Rev. Simon Hansford wrote an open letter to State MPs.
The letter called for a debate that recognised the complexity of the issues. It also emphasised that a number of social and economic factors lead women to make the difficult decision to get an abortion.
“We reject two extreme positions: that abortion should never be available; and that abortion should be regarded as simply another medical procedure. It is not possible to hold one position that can be applied in every case because people’s circumstances will always be unique,” the letter said.
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor.