Bishop Peter Eagles warned of the dangers of ’moral slippage’ as a consequence of the Abortion Reform Bill.

He said he had been contacted by a woman who said nothing could be done to stop people having sex and abortion reform was one way to deal with that.

’I have a significant concern that, unless we have absolute clarity, on how we implement this Bill we are liable for what one might call a sort of moral slippage,’ he said.

’Members may think I express that too strongly, but I have a genuine concern about the implications for moral slippage arising from this bill.’

But that earned an angry retort from his Legislative Council colleague, Tanya August-Hanson.

She said: ’I fervently disagree with that.

’That shows a blatant disregard for those who are making a decision to abort, one of the most challenging decisions they will ever make.’

The Bishop responded that his concern was not aimed at undermining the issue of the decision of having an abortion, but the discussions on abortion could have undermined people’s respect for relationships and recognition of consequences.

His concern was there scope for abortion to become an ’expedient’ and for ’underlying issues’ concerning relationships, poverty and deprivation, to be given ’less emphasis than they require’.