Australia: New South Wales’ extreme abortion bill becomes law

The Australian State of New South Wales has voted to legalise an extreme abortion bill that will permit terminations up to 22 weeks into a women’s pregnancy without any kind of restriction and allow abortion up until 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, apart from the state of South Australia, where the law is currently under review.

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.”

(Image credit: Adobe Stock: #181624064)
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