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Abortion Criminalisation An Issue For 119 Years

THE NSW Pro-Choice Alliance has condemned moves by a small number of NSW Members of Parliament to delay tabling of the historic Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill 2019 which has cross-party support and more co-sponsors than any other piece of legislation in the history of the NSW Parliament.

Alliance Chair Wendy McCarthy has said; “The criminalisation of abortion has been an albatross around the neck of NSW women for 119 years.

"Anyone suggesting this debate is being rushed is out of touch with the community and the ongoing struggles of NSW women facing an unintended pregnancy or the diagnosis of devastating fetal abnormalities.

"For the past 119 years NSW women and their doctors have had to skirt around the risk of criminal prosecution to access and provide healthcare in NSW.

"Criminalisation of abortion has been a problem for 119 years and a focus of debate and activism for 50 years. Improving access to abortion, giving women the autonomy to make their own choices for their own bodies and indeed moving abortion out of the NSW Crimes Act have been consistently debated social issues for 50 years.

"I'm astonished that any Members of Parliament would be prepared to admit to having missed this debate and being surprised by abortion decriminalisation moves in NSW.

"What we are witnessing now is a small group of MPs who disagree with the 70 per cent of Australians who support decriminalisation. This small group are ignoring most voters by trying to delay NSW joining the rest of Australia in modernising its abortion laws.

"Australia has had an extensive and informed debate around decriminalisation, and it is time NSW joined the rest of the country and changed its 119-year-old laws.

"Women are telling us they want independence over their healthcare choices and their push for better control of their reproductive and sexual health has been consistent for 50 years.

"It is time for NSW to follow the examples of states like Queensland and Victoria by introducing sensible, modern regulation of abortion as a healthcare issue,” Ms McCarthy said.

Media contact: 0402 880 653

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