'Abortion bill' 2019 passes Legislative Assembly with 59 votes to 31

Cootamundra MP Steph Cooke added her vote to the yes camp.
Cootamundra MP Steph Cooke added her vote to the yes camp.

Members of parliament have voted in majority to accept the decriminalisation of abortion in NSW.

Following hours of debate and discussion in the Legislative Council, the bill passed after a third reading with 59 ayes to 31 noes.

Cootamundra MP Steph Cooke added her vote to the yes camp, following the lengthy proceedings over the 19 proposed amendments.

Majority of the amendments failed to pass, and those that did attempted only to tweak the wording of the original bill.

Ms Cooke had maintained her silence on her convictions regarding the legislation until the final vote just before 11pm on Thursday night.

The local member had previously voted against the unamended legislation following its second reading on Thursday morning.

Ms Cooke released a statement on Friday afternoon.

"I initially voted against the bill in its original form," she said.

"I also voted to send it to a committee for further examination because in part I did not feel that members of parliament had been given sufficient time to consult with their communities.

"Unfortunately, that vote was unsuccessful.

"I'm one of 93 members of the Legislative Assembly. I knew the bill had the overwhelming support of parliament, and I wanted to ensure it was amended to ensure the highest possible safeguards for families and women facing this unimaginably difficult decision.

"While I have strong personal views on this subject, I also believe in exercising compassion and humanity and not passing judgement on the personal decisions of others.

"This was an extremely difficult decision for me. There needed to be a balance between the right to freedom of religious expression and the provision of practical healthcare - I believe the form of the bill which I voted for, while not perfect, struck this balance.

"I received a great deal of feedback from constituents on this bill and I would like to thank all those who took the time to share their views."

Meanwhile, Goulburn's Liberal Party Member Wendy Tuckerman maintained voting no after both the second and third readings.

In a statement released on Thursday, Mrs Tuckerman explained her decision.

Member for Goulburn and Hilltops councillor Wendy Tuckerman.

Member for Goulburn and Hilltops councillor Wendy Tuckerman.

"I voted no because I want to ensure the framework on this important matter is both clear and concise and protects the people who are unable to protect themselves," Mrs Tuckerman said.

"Since this bill fails in these critical areas, I could not in good conscience support the bill."

She said "complex views raised by constituents made my deliberations on this matter difficult".

"I understand that any decision I make will not sit well with some people in my electorate," Mrs Tuckerman said.

"I have given the bill considerable thought, leaning on my life and career experiences, and most importantly I have listened to the people I represent to inform my vote."

Now with a majority, the bill will proceed to the Legislative Council for further discussion and voting.