Abortion has been removed from the criminal code in New South Wales to cheers from supporters. In a huge blow to women and their babies, Upper House MPs voted in favour of the Abortion Law Reform Bill 2019, 26 votes to 14 last night, followed by its reintroduction into the Lower House today. Amendments were considered, including:
- A name change to “Abortion Law Reform Bill 2019 – passed
- Restrictions on abortions after 22 weeks – passed
- Coercing a woman into an abortion discouraged – passed
- A woman must give informed consent – failed
- Pain relief for babies from 20 weeks gestation – failed
- Emergency abortions to only be performed to prevent an imminent threat to the mother’s life – failed
- Data collection on abortion rates in NSW – passed
- Ban the selling of aborted baby parts – failed
- Insert criminal offences for doctors who illegally provide abortions – failed
- Change the review period from 5 years to 2 years – failed
- The government will create guidelines to prevent sex-selective abortions – passed
- Information must be given to a woman prior to a disability-selective abortion – failed
- Full conscience rights for doctors – failed
- Pro-life doctors will be forced to refer women to a government health service, who will in turn refer the woman to an abortionist – passed
- Women must be offered counselling prior to an abortion after 22 weeks – passed
- Health care for babies born alive during an abortion – passed
- Reference to a “woman” who is pregnant – failed
The new law means that women in NSW can now access abortion, no questions asked up to 22 weeks, and to full term with the sign-off of two doctors. The law enforces 150m exclusion zones around abortion clinics, stifling even the most peaceful protest, and abortions will now be available in public hospitals.
The debate stretched across 8 weeks.. Many shared personal accounts of their own unplanned pregnancies, or being the result of an unplanned pregnancy themselves. MPs spoke of the overwhelming response from the community in support of life, being inundated with letters, emails and petitions. Sadly, not all of New South Wales’ politicians listened to the united voice of the people who courageously advocated for the life of the unborn and their mothers. In fact, many ignored the research and therefore ignored their voters.
These voters gathered in great force on Sunday at Hyde Park in Sydney, many thousands joining to champion life ahead of the vote including high-profile politicians like former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and former Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce.
“You don’t have to be a Catholic. You don’t have to be a Christian. You don’t have to be an Evangelical. You don’t have to believe in anything other than the basic decency of every human being,” Mr Abbott appealed to the cheering crowd.
Pro-abortion protesters gathered at a similar protest, albeit much smaller, to voice their demands. Journalist and businesswoman Mia Freedman attended the rally with several generations of her family.
“I’m here with my mother and my daughter, my aunts and my nieces, because there’s nothing more important than women’s rights to control their own bodies and the fact we are still protesting this in 2019 is absolutely scandalous,” Freedman told The Herald.
Prominent feminist Jane Caro said the amendments would force women to jump through more hoops and require doctors to make subjective judgments about her motivations. Wouldn’t that be helpful to the seventy per cent of women who say that they wouldn’t have an abortion, if just one person encouraged them?
In the midst of all this there’s something we want you to remember. Essentially, nothing has changed. As many as 80,000 babies are still aborted each year in Australia. Women are still faced with unplanned or crisis pregnancies. Women will still be coerced into making a decision to abort a baby they would have liked to parent. Circumstances still give people the impression that abortion is their only option. Unless we address the CULTURE of life, we won’t see change.
Laws give us boundaries, but CULTURE determines the spirit and future of our nation.
Think of it this way. A fence may surround a herd of sheep, but they will graze where the grass is juiciest, where the feed is lush and sweet.
Let’s keep our passion strong as we water the truth. Let’s pour love and grace onto our discussions so that people are drawn in, not shut down. Let’s put weight behind our convictions by supporting culture-change financially. Let’s step up when we see someone struggling with an unplanned pregnancy.
Let’s not wait for another political debate to be passionate advocates for life today.
Help Emily’s Voice change the culture of life. Now, more than ever, our campaigns are vital to gently but boldly declare the value of life. Every life. To reveal to women that there is real choice, choice that nurtures two lives. Be part of the change by doing one or both of these:
- Join the Movement for Life and keep up-to-date and inspired with how you can be a culture-changer for life.
- Give. Your donation today may just be the future for a mother and her child tomorrow.