Wagga MP Joe McGirr has said he would “consider” any legislation to bring NSW’s abortion laws into line with other states.
NSW is now the last state in Australia where abortion is still criminalised following a landmark vote in Queensland’s Parliament this week.
Dr McGirr, who highlighted his Catholic beliefs in his maiden speech to Parliament last month, has previously said he was personally opposed to abortion but respected people’s rights to access medical services.
“I made clear during the campaign what my strong personal views are, however I do recognise that there may be community expectations to align laws in NSW with other states,” he said.
”I would consider, obviously, any proposed changes to legislation in that context.”
Dr McGirr said he would first have to examine clauses in any proposed legislation around term limits.
According to Family Planning NSW, abortions are legal “if the woman’s doctor believes on reasonable grounds that it is necessary to avoid a serious danger to her life or her physical or mental health”.
Outside of those circumstances, both the woman receiving an abortion and its practitioners are liable to be jailed for up to 10 years.
Hay resident Sharon Porter traveled to Victoria in 2013 for an abortion.
She was 19 years old, the mother of a 10-month-old and had recently split from the father when she found out her contraception had failed.
“I wasn’t aware that was the law in NSW as I was advised (to go to Melbourne), but I agree with what Queensland has done,” she said.
“Not many people agree as I’ve seen a lot of backlash on Facebook about it.”
Ms Porter said decriminalising abortion would help reduce the stigma for rural women but she could understand why a lot of people would oppose the change.
Abortion has been the subject of debate in Wagga for years, flaring up recently with the move to ban pro-life protesters from within 150 metres around abortion clinics.
Father Brendan Lee, from the Catholic Diocese of Wagga, has said he would not like to see an abortion clinic open in Wagga.
NSW Parliament voted against decriminalising abortion in June last year.
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