Nile abortion bill defeated

Wednesday, November 27, 1991

Nile abortion bill defeated

By Paula Nassif

SYDNEY — Reverend Fred Nile's anti-abortion bill was defeated in the NSW upper house on November 20. There were only seven votes in favour, four of those from Labor Party members Johno Johnson, Michael Egan, Keith Enderbury and Edward Obeid. The other three votes came from Fred Nile, Elaine Nile and National Party member Duncan Guy.

It is believed no Liberal voted for the bill because of a deal over a bill to restrict tobacco advertising sponsored by Fred Nile and Labor Party deputy leader Andrew Refshauge. With the Greiner Liberals facing defeat on this, they came up with an amended bill providing numerous loopholes which will permit continued tobacco company sponsorship of sporting and other events for the indefinite future.

The defeat of the abortion bill has been inevitable for some months, since Nile began stalling on a vote, knowing he didn't have the numbers.

Nile's bill would have made abortions illegal outside the public hospital system, severely restricting access to safe abortion. "It's not a matter of transferring 40 or 50,000 abortions to the public hospital system", Nile told Sydney journalist Katherine Martin. "I believe quite a few people would decide not to have an abortion."

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