Ms JO HAYLEN (Summer Hill) (09:56): I support the motion moved by the member for Sydney and the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill—to be known as the Abortion Law Reform Act—as amended. We have heard a lot in the course of this very long debate and I know that women across New South Wales are waiting. After 25 hours of debate in this place, and more than 47 hours in the Legislative Council we are finally on the verge of overturning an 119-year-old law that criminalised women's bodies and curtailed their reproductive rights. With the passing of this bill our Parliament will affirm that we trust women to make decisions about their own lives and about their own bodies. We acknowledge the pain and trauma caused by over a century of stigma and misinformation.
For feminists across New South Wales we have finally achieved a historic milestone for this State. At times it has been a bruising and frustrating debate, but it has been a very necessary one. We have heard misinformation from those opposed to abortion, and I think the debate on this bill has been a reminder of how loud a small minority can be. But this bill is not about that small minority; it has always been about the generations of women who have had abortions under the spectre of persecution. They are brave women. Many of them have shared their stories with this, the oldest Parliament in Australia.
This bill has also been about women in regional areas—women who have struggled to find the medical care that they require. They have had to go from doctor to doctor, and some have been forced to go interstate. That will no longer happen. We have heard their voices, and this bill is about them. Women in New South Wales will no longer fear prosecution or imprisonment when they make decisions about their lives and their bodies. This bill means that we are closer to abortion being safe, legal and free. We did not get everything we hoped for in the bill, but I know in my heart that we are making things better today. We are making things better for women. I give them my commitment that as long as I am in this place I will fight for our right to continue to choose.
I briefly acknowledge some of the women whose shoulders we are standing on today. I pay tribute to one of my feminist mentors, the late Ann Symonds. I acknowledge former President of the other place and feminist powerhouse Meredith Burgmann. I also acknowledge some pretty powerful women from my electorate who have been here for the hours of debate: Mary O'Sullivan, Josefa, Claire and Chloe, amongst many others. I thank them for their passion, their persistence and their patience.
I have been very proud to have been part of the cross-party working group that has driven this legislation and one of the record number of 15 co-sponsors of this bill from across the political spectrum. I thank my colleagues the Hon. Penny Sharpe, the Hon. Trevor Khan and the member for Sydney. Alex, you have made us all very proud and you have made your grandmother proud. I thank the collaborators on the bill from across the Parliament. In particular, I thank the health Minister, the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the House for their leadership. This would not have been possible without that leadership. But, enough. This is 119 years overdue. I commend the bill to the House.