Abortion bill delayed after party room row
A historic bill to decriminalise abortion in NSW will be delayed after conservative MPs successfully pressured Premier Gladys Berejiklian for more time to consult religious constituents.
It comes after several churches slammed the proposed reforms yesterday - which they claimed would legalise the killing of unborn babies - and urged members to lobby their local MPs.
Independent MP Alex Greenwich today gave notice to introduce the Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill 2019 but it will not be debated in the lower house until next Tuesday - almost a week later than originally planned.
"I'm disappointed with any delay given to this. We need to move quickly in the interests of women in this state," he told reporters.
The Daily Telegraph understands tensions exploded during a Liberal party room meeting this afternoon where members discussed the process of when the legislation could be introduced.
When the Leader of the House Andrew Constance addressed the party room explaining why the bill should be introduced quickly, conservative MPs spoke out saying the entire process had been rushed.
It's understood those raised concern include Police Minister David Elliott, Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly, Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies and Vaucluse MP Gabrielle Upton.
Mr Elliott said in a statement today that he would be "opposing the bill because there has not been enough time to consult with my electorate in Baulkham Hills".
The bill is designed to bring NSW into line with other states and territories by regulating the termination of pregnancies as a medical procedure.
It would abortion upon request from a registered doctor up to 22-weeks gestation.
Abortions would be legal beyond 22-weeks, however women will need the approval of two doctors who will determine whether they have a valid medical reason.
Mr Greenwich said he had a "firm commitment" from Ms Berejiklian and Mr Constance that the issue "will be dealt with" when the bill is introduced on Thursday.
It was only yesterday that he had said momentum was "with the bill", with the architects previously confident of support firming in both houses of parliament.
It is also being co-sponsored by 15 MPs from various parties, including Labor and the Greens.