A Bill to Decriminalise Abortion Has Passed in the NSW Lower House
Much to our relief, a bill to decriminalise abortion in New South Wales has officially passed in the Lower House.
Late on Thursday night, following two weeks of intense debate (as reported by ABC News), members of Parliament largely voted in favour of the proposed legislation.
Ultimately, the Reproductive Health Care Reform bill passed with 59 MPs in favour, and 31 against.
While, according to SBS News, several MPs raised concerns about the proposed 22-week threshold which would allow women to consult two doctors if they still sought an abortion, it would also be stipulated that late -term abortions only be performed by specialists in approved public facilities.
Introduced to the house by independent MP Alex Greenwich, the bill also had 15 co-sponsors, including NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard.
On this occasion MPs were granted a conscience vote, which allowed them to base their decision on their personal beliefs, rather than an official stance set by their party.
If the suggested changes were implemented, abortion would be removed from the NSW Crimes Act, and instead defined as a medical procedure.
If the bill is also passed in NSW's Upper House, the state's abortion laws would finally align with that of other Australian states and territory's.
ABC News reported that the bill is expected to be considered by a Legislative Council inquiry next week, and to be voted on the following week.