By Dave Andrusko
When the state of New South Wales legalized abortions for any reason up to 22 weeks and up to birth with the permission of two doctors and a hospital committee, Thursday’s passage means abortion has been removed from the Crimes Act in five of Australia’s six states.
Passage of The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 “should be no cause for jubilation in New South Wales today” said Margaret Tighe, President of Right to Life Australia “when the death knell has been sounded in the New South Wales Parliament for unborn children in the womb – abortion now being allowed up till birth.”
Tighe said the bill “has effectively unlocked the floodgates to late term abortions and will have little effect on stemming the tide of abortion in New South Wales,” adding, “Abortions after 5 1/2 months of pregnancy will be accessed with little restriction.”
“Doctors who refuse to perform, assist or facilitate an abortion must provide a person with information to enable them to access the abortion. Medical practitioners are unable to properly exercise their conscience objection. Doctors in rural areas who will not participate may be left with no option other than retire or move.
‘It is appalling that a baby born alive after an abortion will not be given the full protection of the law in terms of neonatal care as is provided to any other child.”
Mrs. Tighe concluded,
“We are proud of the many members of the Parliament of New South Wales who were unwavering in their stand for life and posed amendment after amendment to contain this horrendous bill. This bill is not good for women, it is not good for their unborn children.”
Only a handful of the more than 120 amendments discussed were adopted, principally the obligation to give medical care to abortion survivors and a ban on sex-selection abortions.
Penny Sharpe, a key lawmaker behind the bill, wrote on Twitter the new law was “a massive step forward for women and other pregnant people,” and “Not a minute too soon.”
Many others echoed the sentiments of Anthony Fisher, The Roman Catholic archbishop of Sydney, who said it was a “dark day” for the state and called it “a defeat for humanity.”
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, “The bill caused division in the Liberals, with several conservative MPs furious at the process in which it was introduced and the involvement of ministers.”
Mrs. [Tanya ] Davies, one of the architects of a failed leadership spill motion against the Premier last week, said she and Mr. [Kevin] Conolly had been “absolutely stonewalled” during discussions over amendments.
“I felt there had to be a significant alarm ring to say that what was going on was completely unsatisfactory,” Mrs. Davies said.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian was not in the chamber for the final vote.