A committee hearing in the upper house of the NSW parliament on the bill to decriminalise abortion in New South Wales (NSW) opened on 14 August. . ..
As the debate opened in the upper house, however, outside, reports said “thousands” of anti-abortion protesters held a rally. In a brief video of the rally, most participants appeared to be men holding up placards with disembodied fetuses saying “Who will protect me?”. According to other media, participants were carrying crosses and pictures of Jesus. They heard speeches from anti-abortion MPs and religious leaders. Anti-abortion opponents in parliament claimed meanwhile that they had been denied any opportunity to participate in the process.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who supports decriminalisation, dismissed claims that the bill was rushed through. “I have been in parliament for nearly 17 years and I can’t remember a bill having so much debate in the lower house,” she said. However, pressure from members of her own party led her to delay the vote in the upper house until the week of 17 September, after the imminent 3-week parliamentary recess. The debate continues this week, but amendments will be considered and the vote taken only in September.
[A] clear majority of voters in New South Wales either strongly support or somewhat support removing abortion from the criminal code, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll, published this week.