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'Completely out of step': Abortion to remain a crime in NSW after reform bill fails

Protesters outside NSW State Parliament urging MPs to support the bill to decriminalise abortion. Source: AAP Image/Paul Miller

The majority of the state's upper house has voted down a Greens bill that would have decriminalised abortion in NSW.

Abortion will remain a crime in NSW after members of the Legislative Council voted down a Greens bill aimed at overturning the 100-year-old law.

Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi's Abortion Law Reform Bill was defeated 25 to 14 in the state parliament's upper house.

The bill received support from eight Labor MLCs and all five Greens MLCs, as well as Animal Justice Party MLC Mark Pearson.

Public members in the gallery shouted "shame" as the result of the conscience vote was announced in the Legislative Council.

“I am disappointed that the NSW Legislative Council has voted to keep abortion a Crime in NSW,” Dr Faruqi said following the failure.

"[The] position that is completely out of step with modern medical practice, community expectation, and laws in almost all other states.”

The law would have repealed sections of the Crimes Act, provided a 150 metre protestor exclusion zone around abortion providers, and required doctors providing medical advice to tell their patients if they had personal objections to the procedure.

The proposal provided no gestational limits on when the procedure could be performed - a Greens spokeswoman told SBS the law was modeled on the ACT’s legal framework.

NSW and Queensland are the only two Australian states which outlaw abortion.

The Australian Medical Association believes NSW abortion laws need to be reviewed, but said it was concerned about the breadth of the Greens' bill.

"We agree it is time to review the law in NSW and therefore recommends that the matter should be referred to the Law Reform Commission for serious consideration if progress is to be made," AMA state president Brad Frankum said in a statement.

When introducing the bill, Dr Faruqi said she wanted to give certainty and remove the procedure from the “grey zone” in which it currently sits.

“This uncertainty results in difficulties with access and cost, especially in regional and rural New South Wales,” she said.