Abortion bill debate set to rage on

A BILL to decriminalise abortion in NSW will return to the upper house today where members will debate critical amendments including sex-selection, conscientious objection and preserving the lives of babies born alive during failed terminations.

During a marathon sitting session that lasted until midnight, members yesterday voted against a key motion to move the threshold for late-term abortion restrictions from 22-weeks to 20.

The amendment was moved by Liberal MLC Scott Farlow and was defeated 26 votes to 15.

Liberal MLC Scott Farlow attempted to move two key critical abortion amendments in the upper house last night — both failed. Picture: AAP
Liberal MLC Scott Farlow attempted to move two key critical abortion amendments in the upper house last night — both failed. Picture: AAP

Mr Farlow also put forward an amendment for stricter conditions on late-term abortions to ensure terminations after 22-weeks are only to save the life of a mother or foetus.

This also failed, as did an amendment to replace the word "persons" with "women" throughout the legislation.

Under the proposed laws, women can access an abortion after 22-weeks if two doctors "consider that, in all the circumstances, the termination should be performed".

The abortion debate has sparked a number of protests over the past several weeks. Picture: AAP
The abortion debate has sparked a number of protests over the past several weeks. Picture: AAP

However, an amendment to rename the bill the "Abortion Law Reform Act" was successful, meaning debate will drag on for at least another week because the legislation will have to go back to the lower house.

Two amendments on informed consent were also agreed to that would allow a guardian to make a decision on abortion if a person was deemed incapable.

Liberal MPs Tanya Davies and Kevin Conolly have threatened to defect to the crossbench if four key amendments are not passed.

Liberal MP Tanya Davies has threatened to defect to the crossbench if four key abortion amendments are not passed. Picture: AAP
Liberal MP Tanya Davies has threatened to defect to the crossbench if four key abortion amendments are not passed. Picture: AAP

These are sex-selection, conscientious objection, preserving the lives of babies born alive in failed terminations and ensuring late-term abortions done only to save the life of a mother or foetus.

Ms Davies left the door open to quitting the party yesterday pending the outcome of the abortion amendments.
She was among three "rebel" Liberal MPs who yesterday called off a spill motion against Gladys Berejiklian just 12 hours after announcing her intentions to "hold the Premier to account" on Monday night.



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