Abortion will remain a crime in New South Wales, after a bill to decriminalise abortion in the state was voted down after a debate in NSW Parliament today.
Only 14 MPs (35%) voted in favour of the Abortion Law Reform Bill, which was the initiated by Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi, and aimed to abolish all criminal offences relating to abortion in NSW.
If passed, the bill would have removed abortion from the Crimes Act, and would have introduced 150-metre safe access zones around hospitals and clinics that perform abortions to protect women against harassment and abuse from anti-abortion protestors.
But that won’t be the case, as a majority of MPs — 25, including every Coalition MP — voted against the bill.
“I’m hoping that the MPs get behind this change, which is backed by doctors, by lawyers, massively by the community,” Faruqi told reporters outside parliament before the debate. “If the bill does get passed, it will mean that women will be able to access a health procedure easily and without the danger of criminality hanging over their heads.”
During the debate, Faruqi said, “You cannot claim to be pro-choice and vote against a bill that is about choice,” shortly before the vote took place, and afterwards vowed that she will continue to fight for women’s rights to have safe and legal abortions despite this setback.
NSW joins Queensland in being the only states in Australia were abortion is still illegal. In February, Rob Pyne, an Independent MP for Cairns, withdrew two bills to legalise abortion in the same week they were due to be debated.