A plan to topple New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian over legislation that would decriminalise abortion in the state has been called off less than 24 hours after it was announced.
Liberal MPs Tanya Davies, Matthew Mason-Cox and Lou Amato announced on Monday night they would move a motion to challenge the premier’s leadership over her handling of a bill that would remove abortion from the state’s criminal code.
The three challengers said the leadership spill would “hold the Premier to account for presiding over this shameful process” and called on her to accept four proposed amendments in exchange for their ongoing support.
These amendments, rejected by experts, include a prohibition on sex-selection abortions, “proper medical care” for aborted babies born alive, protection of conscientious objection rights for doctors, and tighter restrictions on abortions at a later gestation.
But by Tuesday morning, Davies withdrew the spill motion.
“We have received confirmation that further concessions will be forthcoming in relation to amendments on the abortion bill,” Davies said in a statement.
The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 passed the parliament’s lower house 59–31 in August and debate on the legislation begins Tuesday in the upper house.
All politicians have been offered a conscience vote on the legislation, which would bring the state’s laws in line with other jurisdictions by removing abortion from the criminal code and allowing abortions on request by a registered doctor up to 22 weeks’ gestation, beyond which the patient would need the consent of two doctors.
Members of the Berejiklian government then tweeted support of their leader on Monday night and confirmed they would not run for leader.
Berejiklian is not one of the bill’s 15 cosponsors from across the political spectrum but voted for the bill in the lower house.