Wagga-based Nationals MLC Wes Fang has declared his support for a bill that would decriminalise abortion in NSW for the first time in 120 years.
Mr Fang also called for the Riverina to have its own reproductive health clinic, potentially ending a situation that has forced Wagga women to travel interstate or to Queanbeyan for abortions.
"We know that there are 20,000 abortions happening in NSW every year - that's 55 per day - and at the moment its an abnormality of the law when other states have removed abortion from the Crimes Act." Mr Fang told The Daily Advertiser.
"We need to make sure that we create a safe and legal environment for women to seek medical treatment."
On Sunday, a private members bill was co-sponsored by 15 MPs, including Health Minister Brad Hazzard and two senior Nationals members.
Mr Fang announced on Tuesday morning that "after consulting with the local community, and after discussions with my friends, family and colleagues, I have come to the decision to support the Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill 2019".
On Tuesday afternoon, the bill's proponents announced that the legislation would likely be put to Parliament next week.
Mr Fang also called for "a women's health clinic be established in the Riverina that offers a complete range of services for those who seek medical advice and attention".
Last year, almost two thirds of the women seeking abortions at a Wodonga clinic were from the Murrumbidgee area.
Mr Fang said women from the Riverina were now having to travel even further for procedures.
"When I'm speaking to people in the area in which I live, the Riverina, there is a great deal of angst about the fact now that the Albury clinic is no longer operating and the Wodonga clinic is not accepting patients from our region, people who are seeking reproductive treatment are forced to travel," he said.
"It's what the National Party does: we advocate for services to be provided in rural and regional areas.
"I think that it's something that is needed in our area."
Julie Mecham, a crisis and support worker at the Wagga Women's Health Centre, said the Mr Fang's support was "fantastic" after years of the centre campaigning for a new clinic.
"I'm incredibly excited that someone in his position would see that our region needs this service because it is so vitally important to have access to appropriate services," she said.
"We have been very much at the forefront of pushing for this service...there are a whole lot of things to consider but we would provide guidance.
"We couldn't say 'we'll start a clinic tomorrow'. We're not in a position to do anything along those lines but the service has advocated for many years for this service in the region."
Wagga Catholic Diocese parish priest Father Brendan Lee said he maintained his view that abortion should not be decriminalised in NSW and the Riverina should not have an abortion clinic.
"It's a billion dollar industry and it's presenting itself as being about women's rights, but the more freely abortion is being offered, the less freedom for those women who are vulnerable and confused," he said.
"They are being pressured by their boyfriends and their husbands and even their parents to have an abortion.
"This is the side of abortion that is never put forward: those who are pressured into it."
Father Lee said abortion was a big decision and it could wait for the time taken to travel outside of the region.
"I think someone's life is worth a day. It it's in the local area, then getting an abortion would be as easy as getting a tattoo," he said.
Mr Fang said he would meet with government MPs and groups like Wagga Women's Health Centre about how to establish a clinic.
"I will be trying to see if I can help and try and get this off the ground," he said.
"It's not always the government's responsibility to do these things but it's out job to help and there may be a private operator who is able to do this.
"It is too early to say."
As an upper house MP, Mr Fang would have the opportunity to vote on the bill if it passes the lower house.
Wagga's lower house MP, independent Joe McGirr, said on Monday that he would take community views "into consideration before casting a vote" if the matter is debated after he returns from leave next month.
Bill proponent and independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich has indicated the legislation will be delayed while the co-sponsors seek support from Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
The delay will make it more likely that Dr McGirr will have a chance to vote on the bill as he returns from leave after Monday.
Dr McGirr, told The Daily Advertiser in May, that "I personally do not support abortion. However, I recognise the expectations of women to access a range of services safely provided".
The Bill would allow abortion on request for women up to 22 weeks' gestation performed by a registered doctor.
Women at more than 22 weeks would need the consent of two doctors.
The NSW lower house's two other independents are also co-sponsors of the bill but Dr McGirr is not.
In October, NSW became the last state in Australia to criminalise aspects of abortion following the passage of legislation in Queensland.