A bill seeking to decriminalise abortion in New South Wales has failed in parliament, meaning obtaining the procedure will remain punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi’s Abortion Law Reform bill was voted down by a margin of 14 – 25. Not a single member of the sitting Coalition government voted in favour of the reforms.
The results of the vote means that, for the time being, abortion will remain on the Crimes Act.
While it’s still technically possible for women to access the procedure in NSW, it’s only an option for those whose mental or physical health is deemed to be jeopardised by a pregnancy.
The bill sought to remove that restriction, along with instituting exclusion zones around clinics to keep protestors at bay, and ensuring doctors with personal objections to the procedure refer their patients to another medical practitioner.
By comparison, Tasmania, the ACT, Victoria, and the Northern Territory do not classify abortion as a crime, and all four jurisdictions enforce the exclusion zones. Queensland, on the other hand, still considers abortion a crime after reform measures were withdrawn earlier this year.
In addition to pro-choice protestors outside parliament, the result has already drawn widespread condemnation online.
Why the fuck is abortion a fucking crime to this day in NSW?
— ingrid ?? (@ingridatkins) May 11, 2017
— Joseph Nicita (@JoeyNicita) May 11, 2017
NSW JUST VOTED TO KEEP ABORTION CRIMINALISED. FOLKS. HELLO.
— Jo (@baeoflight) May 11, 2017
i am not a criminal for deciding what happens to my body https://t.co/NjDqbiNRWT
— chloe sargeant (@chlosarge) May 11, 2017
Despite the defeat, Dr Faruqi says she intends to continue pushing for the reforms.