The New South Wales upper house Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party won’t support the bill to decriminalise abortion because of concerns over a lack of provisions about sex-selection in the legislation. Source: The Guardian.
Robert Borsak, one of two SFFP upper house MPs, told The Guardian that the party would not support the bill without amendments aimed at preventing what he called “sex-selection”, despite all three of its lower house MPs voting in favour of the bill when it passed on Thursday.
“We want to see amendments put in that will stop those sorts of things happening, but based on what happened in the lower house we’re not optimistic that’s going to happen so I think it will inevitably lead to a situation where we vote against it,” he said.
During the debate on the bill in the lower house, the conservative Liberal party MP Tanya Davies sought to include an amendment stating that terminations not “be used for gender selection”.
The amendment was rejected because, opponents said, it was unnecessary and unworkable.
Instead, members agreed to an amendment by Nationals MP Leslie Williams to require the health ministry to review whether there was any evidence of sex-selection occurring and to report back within 12 months.
But Mr Borsak said he was not satisfied with that change, and that he also had issues around “late-term” abortions and conscientious objections for doctors which he would move amendments on.
Asked how a provision around sex-selection would work, he said he was not sure.
“We’ve got to sit down and think that through,” he said.
But even if the SFFP MPs do not support the bill, Mr Borsak is not confident he would have the numbers to block it passing when it comes to the upper house in just over a week.
Christian Democrat Fred Nile will move amendments to the bill and not support it, as will One Nation’s Mark Latham. As many as six of the 11 Liberal party upper house MPs are understood to be opposed to the bill.