NSW abortion debate to resume next week

The NSW Upper House passed an amendment stating that the NSW Parliament opposes sex-selective abortions (Bigstock)

Debate on amendments to a bill decriminalising abortion in New South Wales will resume next week after the Upper House approved a watered-down amendment opposing sex-selective terminations. Source: SBS News.

An amendment to ban sex-selective abortions was on Wednesday rejected in the Upper House, with members voting against the change 26-15.

However, Finance Minister Damien Tudehope, who moved the failed amendment, yesterday introduced and passed another on the issue.

That amendment diluted the original, stating solely that the NSW Parliament opposes sex-selective abortions, and required a future parliamentary report on the issue includes prevention recommendations.

It passed in a late-night session last night by 28 votes to 13.

“I’m pleased we’ve got to a stage where the Parliament can in fact say to the people of this state that we reject the issue of sex selection,” Mr Tudehope said.

Another amendment yesterday by Labor MLC Greg Donnelly to require informed consent for terminations of foetuses with a suspected or confirmed disability was rejected by 26 votes to 14.

The Upper House has passed several amendments, including one clarifying that doctors must provide appropriate care to babies born alive after a termination.

It spent hours yesterday debating amendments on conscientious objection before agreeing to one moved by Nationals MP Niall Blair, who said it would ease the obligation on practitioners with such an objection.

“Rather than asking the doctor to refer the patient to another doctor who they know will not have a conscientious objection ... the amendment puts in another step by enabling the doctor to refer the patient back to NSW Health,” he said.

The issue of sex-selective abortions took on additional importance to MPs after three rebel Liberal MPs this week announced and then scrapped a leadership spill motion against Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Ms Berejiklian yesterday said she was “entirely relaxed” about the process “because we live in a democracy and people are allowed to express their views”.

Debate on the remaining amendments to the bill will resume on Tuesday.

FULL STORY

NSW abortion debate to resume next week (SBS News)

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