‘Compromise reached’ on critical late-term abortion issue

Conservative MPs say they have reached a "compromise" with pro-choice forces on the crucial issue of late-term abortion and are hopeful a new amendment will pass the upper house by the end of the day.

The fate of the amendment will determine whether Gladys Berejiklian will be thrown into minority government.

Liberal MPs Tanya Davies and Kevin Conolly have won ground on three of four amendments necessary for them to remain in the party but will not rule out defecting to the crossbench until a motion restricting late-term abortion is considered.

The Daily Telegraph understands Liberal backbencher Matthew Mason-Cox will withdraw his amendment on the issue to make way for a similar motion which will be moved by a government minister.

 

Liberal sources say Finance Minister Damien Tudehope will now move a late-term abortion amendment which has been canvassed with key backers of the bill, including Nationals MLC Trevor Khan.

It would require abortions post 22-weeks only be performed by a specialist medical practitioner if necessary to prevent serious danger to the woman's life, physical or mental health.

The motion would tighten the proposed laws which currently state a person could get an abortion beyond 22-weeks if two doctors agree that in all the circumstances the procedure should be performed.

A conservative Liberal MP said the new amendment "vindicates" the position of Ms Davies and Mr Conolly and would be a "massive victory for human decency".

Finance Minister Damien Tudehope (right) will move the new late-term abortion amendment. Picture: AAP
Finance Minister Damien Tudehope (right) will move the new late-term abortion amendment. Picture: AAP

"This is a backdoor abdication of their position and I think it acknowledges the extreme pressure that has been applied by Tania and Kevin to try and make this bill more humane and acceptable to the wider community who have been so outraged by the process and contents of this bill," the MP said.

"At least from 22-weeks where it is a very serious position for the woman you have a better protection mechanism involved and a threshold that makes sense rather than complete freedom to do whatever you want regardless of consequences."

It's understood Mr Khan is still consulting with other pro-choice colleagues, including former Liberal minister Niall Blair, about the amendment.

It will require at least 21 votes to pass.

Ms Davies and Mr Conolly will not announce their position until the bill returns to the lower house, which is expected to happen tomorrow.