Liberal MP could still leave over abortion amendments

A "REBEL" Liberal MP threatening to defect to the crossbench over abortion amendments says there has been "no U-turn" on her position despite the upper house supporting a watered-down motion to prevent sex-selection terminations.

Tanya Davies told The Daily Telegraph she was pleased an amendment passed last night that would see the Ministry of Health issue formal guidelines to prevent abortion for the purposes of sex-selection.

But she said a motion to restrict late-term abortion is yet to be debated and will play a pivotal role in her decision.

Conservative MPs believe if the amendment doesn't pass it will expose the abortion bill as being a deliberate attempt to go beyond codifying current practices.

"There has been no U-turn - our position remains the same," Ms Davies said.

"We're still waiting to see the outcome of the late-abortion amendment, which is the most critical."

"To refuse this amendment reveals the big lie our community has been told about this bill... it demonstrates the proponents were always trying to deliver a radical abortion bill, not codify the existing law."

Ms Davies and her colleague Kevin Conolly, who has also indicated he could quit, have now won ground on three of four amendments needed to keep them in the party.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has a majority of two and would be plunged into minority government if both left.

Liberal MLC Matthew Mason-Cox will move the late-term abortion amendment next week stating a medical practitioner "must be satisfied there is a serious danger to the life, physical health or mental health of the woman" before proceeding to terminate beyond 22-weeks gestation.

Under the proposed laws, a person could get an abortion beyond 22-weeks if two doctors agree that in all the circumstances the procedure should be performed.

Ms Davies’ colleague Matthew Mason-Cox will move the critical late-term abortion amendment. Picture: Getty
Ms Davies’ colleague Matthew Mason-Cox will move the critical late-term abortion amendment. Picture: Getty

Labor's Penny Sharpe, who helped draft the bill, previously said it "seeks to codify the common law arrangement with regards to women seeking pregnancy terminations in NSW".

But Mr Mason-Cox said that it a "big lie" because it would "allow abortion on-demand up to 22-weeks without restriction and beyond with the inclusion of a second specialist medical practitioner."

"It's a radical departure from the existing common law," he said.

His amendment is not expected to pass.

The sex-selection amendment which passed last night, moved by Finance Minister Damien Tudehope, also stated Parliament "opposes the performance of terminations for the purpose of sex selection" but does not explicitly prohibit the practice from occurring.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard last night said he would direct the Secretary of Health to get the guidelines addressing the issue in place immediately.

"This will mean NSW will lead Australia in establishing guidelines to address sex selection," he said.



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