Poll finds ‘vast majority’ of people in NSW want abortion decriminalised

Australia
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A pro-choice lobby group has found the vast majority of NSW residents – including Liberal Party voters – want to see abortion decriminalised.

An online poll commissioned by NSW Pro-Choice Alliance and conducted by the Online Research Unit suggested 72 per cent of Liberal voters and 83 per cent of National voters believed the law should be changed.

Overall, more than 77 per cent of people think abortion should be decriminalised.

About one in three Liberal voters and half of all National voters said they’d be less likely to vote for their local MP if they voted to keep abortion a crime.

NSW Pro-Choice Alliance Chairperson Wendy McCarthy said the survey also found a high percentage of respondents believe patients should be able to access unbiased advice and care about abortion – regardless of their doctor’s moral beliefs.

“Eighty-five per cent of people agree that a patient should be provided with information about where they can receive unbiased advice and care regardless of the doctor’s moral beliefs on the matter,” she said.

“There is a very clear delineation that people have about what is the business of the church and what is the business of the state.”

The online survey conducted over the past week had a sample of 1018 adults and was weighted to Census data for region, age and gender.

‘Ditch the bill’

It cams as dozens of people have chanted anti-abortion messages at MPs entering a Liberal Party state council meeting in Sydney on Saturday.

The protesters loudly voiced their opposition to a bill that would allow women to choose to terminate their pregnancies up to 22 weeks, or with the approval of two doctors, terminate later pregnancies.

“Ditch the bill” and “stand for life” rang out as protesters held signs exclaiming “Berejiklian Genocide”, “Abortion = state-sanctioned domestic violence” and “pro-life = true feminist”.

Protester at the International Convention Centre on Saturday.

Protester at the International Convention Centre on Saturday.

AAP

Liberal MP Tanya Davies, who has expressed her willingness to move to the crossbench over Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s handling of the private member’s bill, told the protesters to remain passionate but campaign with “the utmost respect and tolerance”.

“I understand it’s a highly emotive issue and it should be,” she said.

“It’s about life and death.”

Should the Mulgoa MP, and fellow bill critic and Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly, move to the crossbench, the government would lose its thin majority in the 93-seat Legislative Assembly.

Inside the NSW Liberals state council meeting, an “urgent” attempt to pass a motion condemning the government’s handling of the bill failed to get up.

A slim majority voted against discussing the vote, a requirement for so-called urgent motions.

Additional reporting: Peggy Giakoumelos, Nick Baker

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