A Border activist has told of her own termination as a teen in the wake of abortion decriminalisation in NSW.
Liz Marmo on Thursday gave an insight into the experience which helped drive her push for reform as part of the group We Need Reproductive Rights Rural NSW.
She opened up after the NSW Lower House passed the decriminalisation bill into law on Thursday morning following a long debate in the Upper House on Wednesday night which ended in it passing 26 votes to 14.
In the early 1980s as an unwed 18 year-old, Ms Marmo fell pregnant and attended a northern Melbourne hospital for an abortion.
"I went to neo natal and they would call me Mrs Marmo," she said.
"I wouldn't answer, I said 'my name is Elizabeth Marmo, I'm not Mrs Marmo' because I was unmarried but I had to be Mrs Marmo they said.
"Any woman who has gone through that or has been a support for a woman going through that situation will always have a scar that will be carried with them.
"That's not because of the termination but because of the way they were treated that was so damaging for them."
Ms Marmo said she was 16 weeks pregnant at the time and the decision to have an abortion was complicated by medical factors.
She also pointed out she later married the father and had three children with him.
"It is not as cut and dry as a lot of people think," Ms Marmo said.
"There's so many different circumstances for a woman to get to that place."
Ms Marmo said she was pleased with the legislation passing in NSW because it would mean pregnant women would not "be treated like a third rate citizen because of someone religious beliefs".
"There was no necessity to put this through at this point, it wasn't like there was a great number crying out for a change," Father Lee said.
I am ecstatic that, after over a century, abortion is out of the NSW Crimes Act. This is an absolutely incredible moment.— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) September 26, 2019
This is a victory for women who for too long have been denied their bodily autonomy #nswpol#end12#auspolpic.twitter.com/xgnL5MZN06
"I think this was used as a deflection from what politicians should be really doing and that's concentrating on the drought.
"If you speak to farmers on the land they're not happy with the government's response and the whole abortion thing is a deflection."
Father Lee argued that "day to day" the bill "would not change anything because people have got free access to abortion".
"Abortion was already practically legal and although it was in the Crimes Act most people wouldn't have known that," he said.
"No one really cared it was a crime, if you wanted an abortion you would get one."
Albury Anglican priest Peter MacLeod-Miller welcomed decriminalisation, saying it "puts vulnerable people first".
The bill in the Lower House was decided on the voices meaning a division was not required with the votes of MPs recorded.