Radio Host's On-Air Question On Abortion To NSW Premier Is 'Not Okay'

The Minister for Women has criticised a radio host's on-air question to the NSW Premier on whether she would personally have an abortion. 

Marise Payne told The ABC's Insiders program the question from 2GB host Ben Fordham is "not okay".

"I don't think it's appropriate to ask anyone publicly, male or female, about sensitive health questions like that," she told the panel on Sunday.

Minister for Women Marise Payne. Photo: AAP

Last Friday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was invited on to Fordham's program to discuss the bill to decriminalise abortion that is currently before the state parliament.

Introduced by independent MP Alex Greenwich and co-sponsored by 15 MPs from across the political spectrum, the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 would remove abortion from the state's Crimes Act and place the procedure into an appropriate healthcare framework.

Opponents of the bill were shocked at how quickly the legislation was pushed through the lower house, and the Premier has faced accusations of mishandling from within her own Party.

READ MORE: 'Beyond Outrageous': Abortion Bill Delayed In NSW Upper House

Fordham began the 26-minute exchange by asking whether Berejiklian would admit she could have "handled the situation better".

"There is no right or wrong when you're dealing with conscience issues," she said.

"I appreciate the feedback that some colleagues have provided, but I have my own personal feedback, which is my electorate is very calm about the issue."

During the interview, Fordham went on to ask the Premier whether she would personally have an abortion.

"I can't speak for what circumstances I'd be faced with," she replied.

"I don't want to make people feel guilty who have had to go down that path.

"I'm not someone who'd be comfortable going through that process, but that's just me, I can't speak for other women."

Berejiklian was clear in stating her personal views should not influence the right of other women to choose. But Fordham continued to press for "[her] own personal view".

"Under no circumstances?" he probed.

"My personal view is I'm a very conservative person who would not feel comfortable in having that process, but that is just me, and it's not fair for me," she said.

"… and Ben, you've been naughty in pushing me to say that, because I don't want anyone to feel guilty about decisions they've made, because I'm not in their shoes."

Poltics needs to be removed from health issues. Image: AAP

Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek also came to the defence of the Premier, telling The Sun Herald it was "absolutely not OK to ask someone this on live radio".

"I understand this is a very personal issue and appreciate that many people have deeply held views but a woman’s reproductive health is her own business, including decisions about whether to discuss it publicly or not," Plibersek said.

"The point the Premier quite rightly made is that any personal decision she might make should not be imposed on others. She handled this gracefully."

Federal Opposition spokeswoman for women Julie Collins also weighed in on social media.

"Can't believe anyone would think this question was okay," she wrote on Twitter.

Payne, the most senior woman in the federal Liberal Party, told The ABC while the debate should be left to NSW politicians, she thinks it is "appropriate" for the matter of abortion to be decriminalised in the state.

The bill will not be voted on in the state parliament's upper house until at least next month.

Featured image: AAP