Under the legislation, it will still be a criminal offense for individuals to perform abortions without the proper authorizations, carrying a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment for doing so. Doctors would also have to obtain "informed consent" from patients before performing abortions.
Originally titled The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019, the bill underwent several changes before reaching its final form.
Initially, it did not mandate any counseling or period of consideration for the woman, according to The Catholic Weekly, the Archdiocese of Sydney's publication.
That was later changed to require medical practitioners to offer counseling to a woman seeking an abortion if they believe it would be beneficial, The Guardian reported.
Critics of the bill had also objected that it would require doctors with conscientious objections to refer women to other abortion providers. The final legislation instead requires them to direct women to the NSW Health website or hotline, which can then connect them with a doctor who will perform the abortion.
Another amendment prohibits coercing a woman into having an abortion, or preventing her from doing so. The crime is punishable by up to two years in jail, Australia's ABC News reported.
In addition, it clarifies the obligation of doctors to care for a baby who survives an abortion attempt, and prohibits abortions based solely on the sex of the child, according to ABC News.
In his statement, Fisher thanked the members of Parliament who opposed the bill, and those "who worked tirelessly on amendments to make this bad law a little better." He also thanked the members of the public who prayed and spoke out against the law.
He encouraged Catholics to pray and work for pro-life leaders, and to renew their commitment to helping pregnant women in need.
"We can still put an end to the scourge of abortion in this state by making it unnecessary, no matter what the law says," the archbishop said.