New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has called on members of the state’s upper house to “strengthen” the state’s abortion decriminalisation bill, which passed the lower house last week.
It took 11 hours of debate over amendments for the state’s government to pass the bill, 59 votes to 31, last Thursday – with 19 Liberal MPs voting to reject it.
The bill now faces a vote in the upper house next Tuesday, as well as an effort from much of Australia’s media to make the issue the latest face of a new culture war.
Following the bill’s progress to the Upper House, Berejiklian has faced increasing pressure from conservative MPs, with many latching onto the issue of gender selection abortions.
A gender-selective abortion occurs when a pregnancy is terminated based on the gender of the infant.
Speaking from Sheffield in the UK on Wednesday (Tuesday local time), Berejiklian said she was considering banning gender selection abortions, which would require an amendment of the state’s legislation decriminalising abortion.
“I’m confident we’ll get to a position which supports the majority view,” she said.
Berejiklian told press that while the state’s chief obstetrician has said gender selection abortions were not an issue in NSW, it was still an “abhorrent practice” that the public and the government did not support.
“In the lower house we discussed the issue and there was unanimous support for our motion which condemned gender selection abortions,” she said.
“We will do everything we can to strengthen those provisions.”
“If there was any members of the upper house who wanted to strengthen those provisions, I would be completely comfortable with that.”
“This is a black and white issue.”