Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders voted in favour of decriminalising abortion during an emotional debate in the lower house last Thursday night.
The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 passed through the lower house following three days of debate and several amendments, and it will now face further hurdles as it goes to the upper house for consideration.
The private member's bill, brought to parliament by Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, aims to make abortion a medical concern rather than a criminal act.
For the past 119 years, abortion has been part of the Crimes Act 1900.
Mr Saunders said he voted yes because the bill ensures women had the best support possible if they decided to get an abortion.
"There is little doubt this Bill is one of the most emotive that could be brought before the Parliament, and for that reason, I spoke to a lot of people and took a lot of different opinions on board," the Dubbo MP said.
"I considered all those opinions - and they came from friends, family, religious groups and many constituents from all parts of the electorate.
"There were a number of amendments put forward from various MPs concerning the initial Bill, and I voted in favour of some of those which I thought tightened the legislation up a bit from where it was originally."
Abortions already take place in NSW, and as I said from the start this has been about removing terminations from the criminal act and putting them in the health act.Dugald Saunders
Mr Saunders said the debate was respectful and his vote was for placing terminations in the health act rather than the criminal act.
"There was some good debate, and I am grateful for the fact that MPs from both sides of the divide were respectful and accommodating of alternate views put forward," he said.
"Abortions already take place in NSW, and as I said from the start, this has been about removing terminations from the criminal act and putting them in the health act.
"This is not in any way about encouraging abortion, it is about ensuring women have the best support possible if they decide to go ahead with one, and I think the amended Bill does that."
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