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Berejiklian backs ‘gender selection’ abortion ban amid pressure

But several members of Ms Berejiklian’s cabinet, including Corrective Services Minister Anthony Roberts and Police Minister David Elliott have been critical of the bill.

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Ms Berejkilian said advice from the state’s chief obstetrician was that gender selection did not take place in NSW but the government was prepared to investigate further.

She said the lower house unanimously condemned gender-based abortion and resolved to do a review to determine if the practice occurs in NSW.

“But if there is more we need to do to actually allay concerns of the community of course we will, everybody regards gender selection as abhorrent,” Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday.

“This is a black and white issue. The people of NSW, the parliamentarians in the NSW Parliament do not support gender selection.”

The bill to remove abortion from the criminal code will this week be scrutinised by a parliamentary committee, before it goes to the upper house for debate and to be voted on.

“The chief obstetrician already gave us advice that there is no evidence [gender selection] is occurring in NSW but we wanted to take that extra measure as the lower house,” the Premier said.

“In the lower house we discussed the issue and there was unanimous support for our motion which condemned gender selection abortions.”

But Ms Berejkilian said she would be supportive of the upper house tightening the laws because the government should be “not only doing the right thing, but we should be seen to be doing the right thing”.

“If there were any members of the upper house who wanted to strengthen those provisions, I would be more than comfortable with that,” she said.

“It is not allowed in NSW and if there is any move to strengthen that through the upper house, I would welcome that because I want everyone in NSW to appreciate the position of the Parliament, my position and the position of everyone in the community.

“I would appreciate members giving this careful consideration because if there is anything we can do to strengthen those provisions, we should and I would be encouraging all our upper house colleagues to do that.”

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