MPs fear ‘open slather’ on late-term abortions if bill is passed
A HIRSTORIC bill to improve the reproductive rights of women could topple amid growing concern it will make late-term abortions beyond 22 weeks too readily available.
Independent MP Alex Greenwich yesterday received a standing ovation after introducing the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019, which has been co-sponsored by 15 MPs, to NSW parliament.
But some MPs have refused to support the legislation, describing it as "open slather" when it comes to allowing women to access abortions right up until birth.
The bill would allow abortion upon request from a registered doctor at up to 22 weeks gestation.
Abortion would still be legal beyond 22 weeks, however women would need the approval of two doctors who "consider that, in all the circumstances, the termination should be performed".
In the first trimester of pregnancy, abortion is commonly performed using a surgical procedure called a "suction (vacuum) aspiration".
Methods during the second trimester can vary depending on patient choice, however women may undergo a medical abortion where drugs are used to induce labour.
From 20 weeks onwards, the majority of procedures are medical abortions, and in some cases a "foeticide"is performed by injecting lethal intracardiac potassium chloride before inducing labour.
Medical practitioners must also take into account the woman's "current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances".
"It's open slather; MPs are getting very uncomfortable about the fact it makes late-term abortion so much more readily available," one Liberal MP said.
"It's so subjective … (doctors) don't have to prove anything, to test anything, they just have to consider it."
Labor MLC Greg Donnelly said requirements regarding late-term abortion were "one of many significant concerns".
Mr Donnelley also noted the proposed legal change hadn't been examined in a parliamentary inquiry, which is the usual process for any major piece of legislation.
He spoke at the anti-abortion Rally for Life protest outside parliament yesterday, which was attended by about 200 people.
Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce used the birth of his latest son to slap down the proposed reforms in federal parliament yesterday.
"To say he didn't have the rights of other human life is to say he must be subhuman," Mr Joyce said.
The bill will be debated in the lower house on Tuesday.