NSW upper house continues to debate key abortion bill changes | Australia news
The Nationals MP Niall Blair, who introduced the amendment on Wednesday, said he wished he wasn’t moving it at all and it was disappointing that MPs had to codify what already existed.
He said current obligations “unquestionably” required health practitioners to treat any newborn unless it was futile and if it was, to ensure palliative care was given.
But Blair said they had to do something to address community concerns.
“Many in society think that whatever is being said in this area is actually true, that there would be doctors who would allow a child that had been born just to lay there and suffer,” he said. “So we can put that to rest here by putting in this amendment.”
Debate continued among upper house MPs on Wednesday on more than 30 proposed amendments to the private member’s bill to remove abortion from the criminal code.
In its current form, the bill would allow terminations up to 22 weeks as well as later abortions if two doctors agree.
While MPs on Wednesday agreed to Blair’s amendment, they rejected one from the Christian Democrat MP Fred Nile that also addressed care for a child born alive after a termination.
Nile’s change included provisions for medical transfer, and for the death of a baby within 28 days of being born alive after an abortion to be reported to the coroner.
On Wednesday evening, the chamber began debating an amendment requiring medical practitioners not to perform a termination if they know, or ought reasonably to know, it is being performed for sex selection.
The upper house, since it resumed debate on Tuesday, has voted down an amendment seeking to move the trigger for further medical oversight on abortions from 22 weeks’ gestation to 20.
Other rejected changes include one seeking to have the bill refer to a pregnant “woman” rather than “person” and another that would delay the bill going into effect until it was proclaimed.
But the upper house agreed to an amendment moved by the Liberal MP Taylor Martin to change the name of the laws from the Reproductive Health Care Reform Act 2019 to the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019.
The chamber also agreed to another by Blair seeking to clarify doctors’ obligations to get informed consent in circumstances where a woman lacks capacity to give it.