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NSW govt to recognise unborn child crimes


The NSW government plans to introduce new laws if it's re-elected to recognise the death of an unborn child, after women's rights activists voiced their concerns about a similar proposal already before parliament.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday pledged to introduce legislation if it wins the 2019 state election, making it a separate crime to kill or injure an unborn child.

Christian Democrat Reverend Fred Nile has already put forward a similar bill, known as Zoe's Law, which is slated for debate in the upper house on Thursday.

But Ms Berejiklian said there were several problems with his legislation.

"These are separate issues which is why I can't support Zoe's Law in its current form," she told reporters.

"The intent of the bill is absolutely on the money in terms of what people want to achieve, but we need to make sure we don't have any unintended consequences."

The premier said she wants to have a "fresh look" at the issue with the help of experts to ensure more broad support.

Critics of Reverend Nile's bill say it encroaches on women's reproductive rights, namely safe access to abortion.

NSW Family Planning Director of Medical Services Deb Bateson said the bill could further restrict women's access to lawful abortions.

"This bill is unnecessary and presents a real risk to women's reproductive rights by giving legal personhood to a fetus," Dr Bateson said in a statement.

But Reverend Nile on Thursday defended his proposal, as he walked through a group gathered outside NSW parliament in opposition to the legislation.

"As long as I'm in the parliament it won't lapse," Reverend Nile told reporters.

Labor leader Michael Daley criticised Ms Berejiklian for assuming she will be returned to government in March to reintroduce the laws.

He is yet to see the government's proposed bill and said he would consult important women in his life before making a decision on whether he'd support it, given it was "principally" about what happens inside a woman's body.

"I'll have a look at the bill when it arrives," he told Sydney's 2GB radio.

© AAP 2018

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