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A woman seeking an abortion in Western Australia must first see a counsellor but the proposed legislation would make counselling optional (Bigstock)

A West Australian Liberal MP has indicated she will oppose removing mandatory counselling for women seeking abortion in a bill to reform the state’s laws, while another has indicated support for a pro-life Labor MP’s amendments. Source: The West Australian.

The abortion reforms — which have passed the lower house without dissent but are now being debated in the legislative council — will remove mandatory counselling before seeking an abortion, raise the gestational limit from 20 to 23 weeks and remove the requirement for girls under 16 to attain parental consent.

Under the current law, a woman seeking an abortion must be counselled on the medical risks of having an abortion compared to continuing the pregnancy. The reforms would make this counselling optional.

Liberal MLC Donna Faragher said on Wednesday she appreciated that counselling “might not be for everyone” but that she did not see any harm in doctors “providing some factual information about available ongoing counselling supports” as “a matter of course”.

Ms Faragher said women who sought an abortion may experience grief and that information about counselling, if requested, should be standard practice.

Labor MLC Kate Doust is facilitating a petition organised by the Australian Christians that includes amendments in the event the bill passes that mandate medical care for babies born alive after a failed abortion, a ban on sex-selective abortion, and require women to receive information on counselling services.

Liberal MLC Neil Thompson said he was pro-life but supported a woman’s right to choose as a legislator and indicated support for Ms Doust’s amendments.

He acknowledged Ms Doust had been “criticised” for facilitating the petition — which Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson labelled “misinformation” — but defended her, saying some of the issues raised by the petition “deserve further consideration”.


Liberal MP Donna Faragher opposes removing mandatory counselling for women seeking abortion (By Jake Dietsch, The West Australian)