Country doctors would be a risk of retaliation without changes to abortion decriminalisation that were sought by Wagga MP Joe McGirr, NSW Parliament has heard.
One Nation MLC Mark Latham and Nationals MLC Naill Blair on Wednesday night called for different versions of Dr McGirr's prior failed amendment on conscientious objections for doctors.
During the second late-night debate in abortion in the NSW upper house, the MLCs argued that small town doctors would be at risk of retaliation if they were forced to refer patients for abortion.
"In moving his amendment in the (lower house), the member for Wagga Wagga made a telling point that should concern us all, especially MPs and parties representing non-metropolitan parts of NSW," Mr Latham told Parliament.
"Why would newly graduating doctors of religious faith thinking of where they might locate their practice go to country towns where they would put themselves in the eye of the storm in terms of abortion compulsion?
"Would not it be safer to go to a suburban practice where there are many other doctors, and if they had to refer on they could do it without the consequence of being the only doctor in town who would not do it. It would be safer to stay in the city."
Mr Blair called for an amendment that would require doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion to refer their patients back to NSW Health.
"NSW Health will then identify someone who does not have a conscientious objection," Mr Blair told Parliament.
"Let NSW Health pick up the ball and do the matching between the patient who requires the health services and a doctor who can assist them.
"That will guarantee that the first doctor to whom the woman presents has met duty of care requirements by simply referring the woman back to NSW Health."
Wagga Women's Health Centre urged parliament to pass the bill without further amendments.
Health centre manager Gail Meyer said further changes could result in making it even harder for women in regional communities to access to healthcare, including abortion.
"There is a lot of misinformation being put out about the decriminalisation Bill and what it would mean," she said.
"Some of it, including notions about restricting women's access to healthcare based on unfounded fears about sex selection, are racist in nature, aimed at dividing our community along ethnic lines.
"The main issue here is healthcare for women."
Mr Blair said his amendment was "recognition of good doctors such as the member for Wagga Wagga, who...identified that this could be an issue in our regional areas".
"Hopefully this will take the issue a step away from those doctors' religious beliefs and will put in a practical approach," he said.
"I believe my amendment gets the balance right between respecting the religious views and rights of the doctor to object to be part of the procedure and the duty of care provisions that doctors have towards patients."
Mr Blair supports the decriminalisation of abortion in NSW while Mr Latham does not.
Debate was adjourned on the abortion decriminalisation bill shortly after Mr Blair and Mr Latham spoke about Dr McGirr's amendment at about 11.30pm on Wednesday.
Debate will resume after the upper house reconvenes at 10am on Thursday.