BATHURST MP Paul Toole admits he had to do some "soul searching" before voting last week to support laws to decriminalise abortion in NSW.
Mr Toole was one of 59 lower house MPs who voted in favour of the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019, with the bill to now go to the upper house for review.
As the issue was debated for several hours in parliament last Thursday, Mr Toole said he had heard arguments from both sides of the abortion debate.
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"I have taken on board the views of my electorate and of both sides of this debate. I have listened to the considered contributions that others have made in this place, some of which have given me pause for thought." he said.
"... I cannot imagine the emotional trauma that someone goes through in making the decision to terminate a pregnancy. I do not believe it is a decision that anyone makes easily or one that they will not revisit many times in their life."
In the end, Mr Toole said he was swayed by the thought that women should not have to struggle to access safe abortion services.
I cannot imagine the emotional trauma that someone goes through in making the decision to terminate a pregnancy.Bathurst MP Paul Toole
"They should not have to struggle to access a service within hundreds of kilometres of home because doctors are fearful of offering that service in the current legal climate," he said.
"As legislators our role in this place must surely be to ensure that people are well informed and well supported as they make this difficult decision. It is also our role to ensure that legislation is modernised and appropriate for the times."
Mr Toole said legal protection for doctors was also important.
He supported the view that doctors who did not wish to perform abortions should be legally entitled to refuse to.
"Doctors, too, must have a right to choose. Doctors will not be forced to perform or participate in terminations where doing so conflicts with their personal beliefs," he said.
"I also note the obligation on doctors who have a conscientious objection to refer patients to other doctors to provide advice and care."