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Australia: New South Wales’ extreme abortion bill becomes law

The Australian state of New South Wales has voted in favour of an extreme abortion bill that will permit terminations up to 22 weeks gestation without any kind of restriction and up to birth with the consent of two doctors.

There was applause in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as the Abortion Law Reform Act passed 26-14 in the state’s lower house, on Thursday, after 70 hours of debate in both houses.

Previously, abortions were only permitted in Australia’s most populous state if a doctor deemed the physical or mental health of a pregnant mother to be in serious danger if she continued to carry her child.

The legalisation of abortion in New South Wales means that unborn babies can be legally terminated everywhere in Australia.

The new legislation was strongly opposed by some pro-life parliamentarians who tried to add in amendments to protect some unborn babies and raised concerns about late-term abortions.

MP Mr Mason-Cox declared the bill dangerous and said “it lacks proper safeguards. It totally ignores the rights of an unborn child particularly in the case of late-term abortions.”

MP Mr Amato raised similar concerns and noted some MPs have put their “careers on the line” in the hope of defeating some of the more controversial elements of the bill.

Amendments passed in the New South Wales Legislative Council include one stating the New South Wales parliament opposes sex-selective abortions, with a future report on the issue to include recommendations on its prevention.

Another clarifies that doctors must provide appropriate care to babies born alive after a termination.

An amendment that would have requested the administration of pain relief in cases of the termination of unborn babies 20 weeks and beyond failed.

In neighbouring New Zealand, a similar bill to decriminalise abortion is currently going through parliament.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“This appalling Bill will likely result in an increase in the number of lost lives as it places no restrictions at all on abortion up to 22 weeks and will, in practice, allow for abortion for any reason up to birth, providing two doctors in the state are willing to approve the abortion.”

“In the UK, since the abortion act came into effect, over 9 million unborn children have had their lives ended. Last year, abortion numbers hit a ten year high with almost 1 in 4 pregnancies resulting in a termination of an unborn baby. The sadness and severity of these figures will now become a stark reality for New South Wales.”

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.