Australia

'The community won't stand for it': Senior NSW minister attacks abortion decriminalisation bill

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NSW independent MP Alex Greenwich has introduced a bill to decriminalise abortion to state parliament.

A senior NSW government minister has attacked a bill to decriminalise abortion in the state, and allow conditional late-term terminations, as "unjust" and says "the community won't stand for it".

The criticism by coalition Finance Minister Damien Tudehope, who is anti-abortion, came ahead of the bill being formally introduced to state parliament on Thursday.

Finance Minister Damien Tudehope has attacked the bill as "unjust".
Finance Minister Damien Tudehope has attacked the bill as "unjust".
AAP

Sydney independent MP Alex Greenwich presented the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 to the lower house on Thursday morning. 

The private member's bill allows for terminations up to 22 weeks and later if two doctors "consider that, in all the circumstances, the termination should be performed".

But, in an opinion piece published in The Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Tudehope said the bill would make abortion legal in NSW "all the way up to birth, with no meaningful restrictions whatsoever".

"This bill represents an unjust and illiberal law," he said.

Despite the backlash, the bill has wide cross-party support among the MPs at Macquarie Street.
Despite the backlash, the bill has wide cross-party support among the MPs at Macquarie Street.
AAP

"I believe the community won't stand for it."

The draft legislation also gives doctors the right to conscientiously object to performing abortions but they must refer patients to another health practitioner who can provide the service.

NSW is the only state in Australia that hasn't decriminalised abortion.

Pro-choice advocates wanting to decriminalise abortion, surround Parliament House with signs saying "It's time", "our bodies, our rights".
Pro-choice advocates wanting to decriminalise abortion, surround Parliament House with signs saying "It's time", "our bodies, our rights".
Twitter

The bill, which has been backed by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, was originally scheduled to be debated this week but conservative MPs worked behind the scenes to delay debate until next week.

The draft legislation sparked a backlash from anti-abortion advocates, including church groups, which have slammed it as a "bad bill" and accused the state coalition government of trying to rush it through parliament.

NSW Independent MP Alex Greenwich addresses pro-choice advocates and supporters of the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill.
NSW Independent MP Alex Greenwich addresses pro-choice advocates and supporters of the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill.
AAP

An anti-abortion 'Rally for Life' will be held outside NSW Parliament on Thursday by Right for Life NSW, Family Voice Australia, Family Life International and We Support Women.

Despite the backlash, it's believed the bill has wide cross-party support among the MPs at Macquarie Street.

Liberal MP Nathaniel Smith said he was "disgusted" at how the bill was "rammed" through parliament.

"This is not an issue like a hip replacement, a nose job, a fake tan - this is a human being," he told the rally.

"This will not protect women, this should not be going into the health care act, it should remain in the crimes act."

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