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Australia’s largest state overhauls abortion laws

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.

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