Foetal rights bill Zoe’s Law today passed its first significant hurdle as the bill makes its way through the New South Wales Parliament. The bill was put to a conscience vote in the Legislative Assembly and was passed by a margin of 63 votes to 26.

Zoe’s Law seeks to extend the offence of grievous bodily harm to an unborn child. If the bill is passed by both houses of parliament, it would be the first time in NSW law that the separate personhood of an unborn child has been recognised in in confined circumstances.

The bill is named in honour of Zoe Donegan who was stillborn after her mother Brodie, then 36 weeks pregnant, was hit by a car.

Opponents of the bill have criticised it as an attack on abortion rights, despite the fact the bill explicitly has no impact on medical procedures.

Zoe's Law will now be sent to the Legislative Council where Christian Democratic Party MP Fred Nile will have carriage of the bill.