MP backs abortion bill

Liberal member for MacKillop Nick McBride has voted for the bill to decriminalise abortion in South Australia. Mr McBride asked some questions of Deputy Premier Vicki Chapman during the lengthy debate last month.

“It is well known around my region that my conscience vote for this abortion act is that I am very proactive and pro-choice,” Mr McBride told the House of Assembly in his post-midnight speech. “I am very supportive of women and their choice about pregnancy, family planning and the issues they might surround themselves with in giving birth, as women do,” he said.

“I also belong to a very conservative electorate where they are very pro-life and believe in the life of a baby right through the term of pregnancy generally. “In my electorate we are willing to concede the rules that used to be in place for a pregnancy between 22 weeks and six days was acceptable and beyond that was always a question mark for me.”

The issue had generated public debate in his MacKillop electorate with strong opposition expressed by Penola Catholic parish priest Father Michael Romeo. Members of the major parties were given a conscience vote on the legislation which moves abortion from the Criminal Law Consolidation Act and into healthcare legislation.

There were 29 votes in favour and 15 against with Independent Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell abstaining. It will also allow late-term abortions – defined as after 22 weeks and six days – to occur when deemed “medically appropriate” by two medical practitioners.

Late-term abortions will only be approved if there is a threat to the life of the pregnant person or another foetus or if there is a significant risk of serious foetal anomalies associated with the pregnancy.

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