The last few months have been turbulent in the NSW Parliament. The introduction of the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill (now the Abortion Law Reform Bill) in August, began a two-month campaign to amend this flawed bill which claimed “only to move abortion out of the Crimes Act,” when in reality it would allow late-term abortions up until birth. Tanya Davies, one of the Liberal Members of Parliament who opposed the bill said “Despite this bill being fast tracked through Parliament without proper public consultation or a Parliamentary inquiry, people from across NSW and Australia rallied quickly.
Within 48 hours over 13,000 people had lodged submissions to the rushed Parliamentary inquiry and over 100,000 people had signed the petition calling on the NSW Legislative Council to reject the bill. Davies said “Although we were denied proper community consultation (to provide an example, the Animal Cruelty Laws were given five months for public consultation) we were able to delay the vote, and as a result of the overwhelming community engagement, highlight the flaws of the original bill and achieve significant amendments to this legislation.”
The original bill failed to protect doctors with a conscientious objection, failed to protect against sex-selection abortions, failed to provide care to babies born alive after a failed abortion, failed to penalise abortion coercion, failed to ensure women were offered counselling and failed to provide protection for doctors, women and babies. Davies said “During this campaign, we fought hard and moved many amendments to ensure the protection of women, babies and doctors. In total, 102 amendments were moved in the Legislative Council alone, with over thirty hours of debate, the third longest debate in the history of the NSW Legislative Council.”
Davies went on “We were able to secure many significant amendments, including concession around sex-selection abortions, duty of care for babies born alive, conscientious objection for doctors, continuation of the common law provisions around late-term abortions, ensure data is collected, ensure women are offered counselling and those that coerce a women on abortion can be penalised. However, despite our efforts, this bill still contains serious flaws after multiple amendments were rejected, providing anaesthesia for a foetus before a late term abortion and banning the sale and trafficking of foetal tissue.”
But despite these amendments failing to get through, the bill is much better then what was first introduced in August. Davies said It was a long fight, “one that saw me nearly resign from the Liberal Party room in parliament and move to the crossbench, but I am convinced of the necessity to protect life and protect the vulnerable that I consider it all worthwhile. From the outset I was strengthened and upheld by these words: “But in the coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Isaiah 54:17)
“So in the end the good will always outlast the evil. Therefore, persevere in the good, keep going in what is true, keep standing for what is right, and you will overcome and prevail in the end,” (The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn). Davies said “These promises became a foundation of strength and certainty for me, encouraging me to continue to keep on fighting, even when all seemed dark. In the face of great opposition and vile attack, these words gave me the resolve to continue to pursue changes on this life-or-death issue. In 2011, during my maiden speech to the NSW Parliament I declared that I had come to this place ‘for such a time as this’.”
Davies went on “This radical abortion bill debate and fight for amendments is a demonstration of my maiden speech in action. I hope my stance and firm resolve in fighting for what is right and good will give encouragement and hope to others to be bold in their sphere of influence. I was not the only one standing up for life and the vulnerable, and I wish to thank everyone who was involved in this campaign. Through our collective voice we were able to save many babies and women by ensuring better support and safeguards were introduced into this legislation. I am forever grateful to all those who stood alongside me as I took up this fight.”
Source: National Alliance of Christian Leaders