IT is encouraging to read that many MPs struggled with last week's vote to decriminalise abortion in NSW.
In the end, the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 was passed through the lower house by a vote of 59-31 late on Thursday night, but that comfortable margin was only achieved after three days of debate and several amendments.
The bill will now face further hurdles as it goes to the upper house for consideration but NSW is closer than ever to finally striking abortion from its criminal legislation.
Bathurst MP Paul Toole - generally considered a social conservative who was raised in the Catholic Church and taught for almost two decades in a Catholic school before entering politics - conceded he had to do some "soul searching" before finally voting to support the bill.
He said he had listened to arguments from both sides of the debate and had been forced to consider the legal ramifications for both women and doctors of abortion remaining a crime in NSW.
It was clearly not an easy decision for him, but it was one that should win him new respect among local voters.
While Mr Toole has always enjoyed strong support from the electorate and sits on a comfortable margin of around 18 per cent, his opponents have always sought to paint him as a policy lightweight beholden to his conservative Nationals roots.
Thursday's vote casts him in a different light.
Last Thursday, Mr Toole chose to vote in a way that reflected the views of the majority of his electorate rather than the conservative wing of his party.
He was not alone, with many of his Nationals colleagues also backing the bill - something that would have been unthinkable even just a decade ago.
Voters now look forward to the next big social test for this parliament - a decision on voluntary euthanasia.
Victoria has led the way on this issue, passing voluntary euthanasia legislation in June, and other states will inevitably be forced to confront the issue as well.
As with the abortion debate, the question of voluntary euthanasia will test the conservatives within the parliament, particularly those who hold a strong religious faith.
But, as last Thursday's vote showed, this is a parliament that can rise above the individual to vote for the majority.
That's the sign of a mature parliament, a mature democracy and a mature state.