Legislators in the Australian state of New South Wales have passed a law decriminalising abortion.
The vote on Thursday came in the wake of a fractious debate that threatened to divide the conservative government of Australia’s most populous state, Reuters reported.
The legislation was passed by a voice vote in the state parliament.
The new law allows abortions for women who are up to twenty-two weeks pregnant. Beyond twenty-two weeks, two doctors need to approve an abortion and they also need to seek advice from a hospital advisory committee.
Previously, doctors could perform abortions only if they believed continuing the pregnancy would do serious harm to the woman’s health.
The new legislation seeks to revamp a century-old law that made abortion punishable by up to ten years in prison.
It also makes New South Wales the last state in Australia to decriminalize abortion.