New South Wales is on the brink of legalizing abortions for any reason up to 22 weeks of pregnancy after the upper house passed the radical pro-abortion bill Wednesday.
According to 7 News, the bill passed in a 26-14 vote after lawmakers in the Australian state debated multiple amendments. It now returns to the lower house for a vote on the changes.
The upper house approved several important amendments to provide at least some protections for unborn babies and pro-life medical professionals, but it rejected others that would have given even greater protections to babies in the womb.
One amendment would have banned the sales of aborted baby body parts. However, lawmakers rejected the common-sense regulation, as well as another amendment that would have required pain medication for unborn babies capable of feeling pain, ABC News reports.
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Eternity News reports lawmakers did pass an amendment to increase restrictions on abortions after 22 weeks, when unborn babies are viable outside the womb. The vote was 23-17. News reports are not clear about how restrictive the amendment is, but, without it, the bill would have allowed abortions for any reason up to birth as long as two doctors agreed to it.
Earlier, the upper house also passed amendments banning discriminatory sex-selection abortions and adding conscience protections for medical workers who believe it is wrong to kill an unborn baby, the report states. Another amendment that passed outlines guidelines for a person who is not capable of consenting to an abortion, according to ABC.
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Matthew Mason-Cox (Liberal) opposes the bill but says that it has been considerably improved. “Abortion is both legal and safe in NSW. But my fear is that it will become more abundant.”
Shayne Mallard (Liberal) supported the bill, after five days chairing the debate. The bill preserves the aim of decriminalising abortion that is safe, accessible and “de-stigmatised”.
Fred Nile (Christian Democrat) opposed the bill and said ““Since I became a Christian in 1959 I have sought to be a consistent pro-life, pro-family campaigner.” He was concerned for the fate of pro-life medical practitioners.
Catherine Cusack (Liberal) has changed her mind and will support what she regards as a much improved bill. “It’s been wearing but its been positive.” she says of the debate.
The radical pro-abortion legislation has been met with massive opposition. In August, thousands of pro-life advocates gathered in Sydney to urge politicians to protect the rights of unborn babies in their state.
Abortion activists have been trying to ram through the radical pro-abortion bill quickly. The bill passed the lower house of parliament in August, just days after pro-abortion lawmakers introduced it.
But resistance has grown as citizens have learned how radical the bill is. Without the recently-passed amendments, it would allow abortions for basically any reason up to birth, including sex-selection abortions.
Pro-life leaders’ efforts have been met with harassment and death threats. Last month, police charged two people for making death threats against pro-life MPs and a third for allegedly spitting on a peaceful pro-life protester.
Pro-life organizations, Catholic Church leaders and others have been working hard to stop the dangerous bill from becoming law. Roman Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney recently sent a letter to state Premier Gladys Berejiklian, asking her to delay the debate.
“The bill is a bad one,” Fisher wrote in the joint letter with other religious leaders. “It will allow abortion right up to birth if two doctors agree. It is yet another attack upon the rights of people of faith.”
“It is the dream bill of the abortion industry, which they have already pressed upon several other states; but it will leave unborn children and unsupported pregnant women even more at risk,” he continued.
Fisher encouraged all Catholics to speak out against the radical pro-abortion bill and pray for unborn babies and mothers in crisis.