Greens move to decriminalise abortion

June 20, 2014
Protests against a personhood bill, Sydney.

NSW Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi has initiated the first abortion decriminalisation bill in New South Wales. This long overdue reform aims to remove abortion from the NSW Crimes Act of 1900.

Faruqi gave notice of a motion she will move when NSW parliament resumes in the second week of August after its winter recess.

“Tasmania, the ACT and Victoria have taken courageous and difficult steps to moving towards ensuring women’s reproductive rights. It is now time for New South Wales,” Faruqi said on June 19.

“The more than three million women of NSW deserve better than having their reproductive rights fall in a grey area of the law.”

Faruqi said that the debate over a foetal personhood bill, which passed the legislative assembly 63 votes in favour to 26 against last November “confirmed that women’s autonomy will never be truly secure until we actively move to repeal our out-dated and inappropriate abortion laws”.

The push for foetal personhood laws in several states across Australia is widely seen as a backdoor way of introducing further restrictions on women’s rights to choose.

The personhood bill, originally moved by Liberal MP Chris Spence, was scheduled to be introduced to the Legislative Council in March. But the mover, former Liberal MP Marie Ficarra, was suspended in May after accusations of lying to a corruption inquiry. The bill remains on the books.

Faruqi said: “I have been talking to women around Sydney and regional NSW who have told me that the time has come for an end to the criminalisation of a woman’s rights over her own body.

“Today’s motion will mark the next phase of that consultation where we can now start talking about how we will proceed to ensure this change happens.”

Faruqi is keen to persuade Labor MPs to support the decriminalisation of abortion.

“For too long, even talking about abortion happens in the shadows,” she said. “Bringing forward this bill will start a conversation in New South Wales as to why after more than 100 years, abortion is still in the Crimes Act.”

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