Abortion Legislation Bill passes second reading

The Bill must pass a third reading before it can become law.
The Bill must pass a third reading before it can become law. Photo credit: Getty

Abortion is one step closer to being removed from the Crimes Act after a Bill to amend the legislation passed its second reading in Parliament.

The Abortion Legislation Bill passed by 81 votes to 39 votes on Tuesday night after several passionate speeches - and the ejection of one person from the House for shouting "shame on you" at Green MP Jan Logie.

Abortion is currently a crime - women have to use a kind of legal loophole to make it legal, and two doctors have to agree pregnancy would put her in physical or mental danger. 

If it becomes law, the Bill will remove any statutory tests for women who want an abortion before 20 weeks.

After 20 weeks women would need two doctors to agree that an abortion is the right choice. This change was introduced during a select committee in October. 

There has been protest on both sides of the debate with pro-life activists marching to Parliament with graphic signs depicting dead fetuses and pro-choice protesters organising large marches and counter-demonstrations.  

The Bill will now move to a debate in the House before being finalised in a third reading later this year.