Abortion has been decriminalised in NSW after the third longest debate in the parliament's history.
Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams described the decision as an important one because it places the termination of pregnancy under the Health Act "where it should have always been".
There was applause in the lower house as the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 passed its final hurdle on Thursday.
The lower house agreed to a number of key amendments, including on late-term and sex-selective abortions, to overturn the state's 119-year-old law.
Mrs Williams, who played a key role as a co-sponsor of the bill, said while she accepts there are people who share different views, the significant majority of people in her electorate supported the decriminalisation of abortion.
"The best people to make decisions about their bodies and about their health are women themselves," Mrs Williams said.
She added while there was resistance to the bill from Liberal Party ranks, the majority of her Nationals colleagues agreed it was well overdue.
"Women in NSW, particularly regional NSW, we know were going to other states for terminations and not getting the satisfactory support they need," Mrs Williams said.
"We were the last state in Australia for this to happen - it isn't a radical decision."
The bill, presented to parliament by Independent MP Alex Greenwich, takes abortion out of the criminal code and allows terminations up to 22 weeks as well as later abortions if two doctors agree.
"The bill has safeguards that will put community concerns about this important reform to rest and in ensuring that the voices of women in rural and regional communities were heard when decisions were made about this bill," Mr Greenwich said.
"Working with Trevor Khan, most of the amendments to this bill come from National Party members - either from the member for Port Macquarie (Leslie Williams) or the Hon. Niall Blair - and I am grateful for the constructive and thoughtful way they have sought to improve this bill.
"The Parliament has had a long journey that has involved teamwork and partnerships between members from all political persuasions and different parts of the state. The bill is now in a state that represents the wants and needs of the majority of this Parliament.
"Every member of this Parliament can feel proud that part of our legacy will be the decriminalisation of abortion in New South Wales."
The amendments, added by the Legislative Council, will:
- Put in place a review into sex selection, resulting in new professional standards;
- Require that non-identifying data be collected about abortions performed in New South Wales;
- Ensure the domestic violence offence of intimidation captures coercing a person to receive or not receive an abortion, with a maximum penalty of two years in prison;
- Recognise that doctors performing abortions after 22 weeks can seek advice from a multi-disciplinary team or hospital advisory committee.
"Regarding the amendments around sex selection, the requirements for NSW Health to provide recommendations about how to prevent the practice of performing terminations for the purpose of sex selection recognise that the New South Wales Parliament does not support the practice," Mr Geenwich added.
"We have no evidence that terminations are occurring for the purpose of sex selection. The review will be able to inform us on the matter."
The bill was opposed by religious groups, anti-abortion activists and several MPs who raised concerns about late-term and sex-selective abortions, conscientious objection and the way the bill was introduced.