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SYDNEY, Australia, September 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The upper house of New South Wales’ parliament has voted 26-14 to pass a modified bill to remove abortion from the criminal code. The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 will now return to the lower house to be voted on again in its new form, and under the new name of the Abortion Law Reform Act.

A previous attempt to pass effectively the same legislation failed in 2017 after being roundly condemned as deeply flawed on many levels, and immediately prior to the vote was somewhat disowned by its author, Dr. Mehreen Faruqi, who claimed that the bill was not hers or a Greens bill but was “on behalf of the women of New South Wales, medical practitioners, lawyers and, most importantly, the community that overwhelmingly supports the decriminalization of abortion and the enactment of safe access zones outside clinics.”

The current bill was presented to parliament by independent Alex Greenwich MP.

With debate in the upper house running to 40 hours, the 2019 abortion debate became the third longest running in its history. 

With the numbers against them, pro-life MPs worked through the weekend to negotiate amendments, and were successful in gaining extra restrictions on abortions on babies after 22 weeks gestation. Amendments for pain relief for 20 weeks and beyond failed. 

New South Wales Right to Life CEO Dr. Rachel Carling told LifeSiteNews, “It is disappointing but [not] unexpected that the bill has passed the upper house tonight with limited amendments.”

Rev. Fred Nile MLC described the amendments as being “window dressing.”

The bill is expected to be voted on in the lower house on Thursday to then become law.