NSWCCL writes to MLCs re Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill 2019

NSW Council for Civil Liberties has today written to select MLCs to urge them to resist the threats from those who oppose the Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill 2019, and to be guided by their conscience.

17 September 2019

Re: Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill 2019

Reports of the high level of aggression and threats currently raging around the conscience vote for the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 are deeply disturbing.

Conscience votes within our Parliaments have a very special place in that they allow our representatives the rare opportunity to act on their conscience, free of Party constraints. It has been observed, with some justification, that they bring out the best in our politicians.  Sadly this has not been the case for this Bill.

We have followed the progress of the Bill closely and considered the process advanced through a cross-party group of 15 parliamentarians to have been exemplary.

Notwithstanding, a very small number of members appear to be determined to undermine the essence of a conscience vote, effectively seeking to hold their colleagues to ransom if their wishes are not granted. We consider this a very sad development which does not auger well for the NSW Parliament into the future if it is successful in its intent.

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties urges you to resist the threats and to be guided by your conscience. 

This Bill, based on existing legislation in Victoria and Queensland, is the result of years of careful consideration across Australia. It will be more than a lost opportunity if the Bill fails to pass, or is amended in a way that will make the situation in NSW worse rather than better for women seeking a legal termination. 

The women of NSW will be badly served by their Parliament if this legislation is not passed.

We urge you to pass the Bill without further amendment.

Yours faithfully,

NSW Council for Civil Liberties

Pauline Wright | President