Australia legalises abortion nationwide

Sydney: Abortion was decriminalised in Australia's state of New South Wales on Thursday after weeks of contentious debate, bringing its laws into line withthe rest of the country.

Politicians from across the political spectrum voted to overturn the laws that date back to 1900 and meant women seeking an abortion in Sydney or elsewhere in the state and their doctors could face up to 10 years in prison.

The legislation was delayed for months by a small group of conservatives from the ruling Liberal Party who rebelled against their leader. The passage of the bill was cheered by pro-choice advocates, who had staged several large demonstrations in its support in recent months.

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