An estimated crowd of around 5000 protesters, skywriting, a petition signed by 77,000 people and widespread opposition among MPs and religious leaders has forced NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to delay a vote on the abortion-to-birth bill.
Decision is a reprieve for unborn babies, not a win
The decision is a reprieve for unborn babies, not a win. The womb remains the most unsafe place for Australian children with an estimated 70,000 annual abortions, about 95% being for psychosocial reasons.
Anger at the bill reached fever pitch overnight when the massive crowd led by MPs, religious leaders and pro life advocates crammed Martin Place and Macquarie Street.
Earlier in the day a plane etched the words “Choose Life” across Sydney skies as Former Minister for Women, MP Tanya Davis, said the abortion issue was now a “crisis of Government”.
Upper House vote delayed
The Premier has pushed back a vote on the bill to September 17 as proponents of the bill that has passed the Lower House seek to find amendments to appease opponents.
The bill, in its current form, allows abortion on-demand to 22 weeks and thereafter to term for social and emotional reasons with the approval of a second doctor.
The bill passed the Lower House 59-31 after MPs were given a conscience vote on the issue. Nineteen Government MPs voted against a bill supported by the Premier who later implored the Upper House to move amendments banning sex-selective abortions after opposition from within her ranks.
Abortion is already legal in NSW, provided continuing a pregnancy represents a serious risk to a woman’s physical or mental health.
Doctors can already take into account social and financial circumstances, and abortions are routinely available to 20 weeks, and then with some restrictions to 24 weeks.
Doctors reluctant to perform abortions beyond 24 weeks
However, doctors are reluctant to perform abortions beyond 24 weeks except in rare emergencies, such as the mother’s life being at risk, or the child having a disability incompatible with life.
Under the proposed new legislation, abortion will be available to term for physical, psychological and social circumstances such as, “My boyfriend/partner/parents want me to have an abortion” and, “I’m scared to tell my mum I’m pregnant”.
MAIN PHOTO: Skywriting seen above Sydney CBD around lunchtime reads ‘Choose Life’. (ABC News)