SYDNEY, Australia — Australia’s most populous state decriminalized abortion on Thursday, becoming the last jurisdiction in the country to revise blanket penalties enacted decades ago. The measure in New South Wales, a state of more than seven million people that includes Sydney, overturned a 119-year-old law that made it a criminal offense to procure or administer an abortion. Under the new legislation, women can seek termination of a pregnancy in the first 22 weeks. After that, they can receive an abortion if two doctors sign off. Abortion is widely available in most of the West, with one of the last holdouts, Ireland, approving it last year, though several American states have passed restrictive laws in recent years, many of them challenged in the courts. “I am sorry it has taken so long,” Alex Greenwich, an independent New South Wales lawmaker who introduced the bill’s first iteration, said in a statement. The final bill passed after days of debate and more than 100 amendments. In practice, abortion has generally been available to women in New South Wales, though doctors have been required to attest that the pregnancy posed a mental or physical risk to the woman’s health. Doctors could also consider… Read full this story
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