Australia State Victoria Moves Closer to Legalizing Abortion With Parliament Vote
by Steven Ertelt
September 10, 2008
Melbourne, Australia (LifeNews.com) — The Australian state of Victoria has moved closer to officially legalizing abortion with a second reading vote in the state’s parliament okaying the bill. Abortions are already legal throughout Australia, but the measure would make it official in the second most populous state and regulate the grisly practice.
If given final approval, the bill would allow abortions up to 24 weeks into pregnancy for any reason and, after that time period, two doctors would have to sign off on whether the abortion is in the woman’s best medical interests.
The state’s lower house approved the bill on second reading with 47 MPs supporting it and 35 opposed.
Now MPs will address a series of amendments from pro-life lawmakers to weaken the bill and protect those who don’t want to do abortions.
Most MPs voted as expected with the vote coming largely around party lines, but Attorney-General Rob Hulls voted to oppose the bill and surprised his colleagues. Also, Nationals frontbencher Jeanette Powell, who represents a conservative part of the state, voted for it.
Looking at the potential amendments, one expected to receive considerable debate is one to limit abortions to 20 weeks into pregnancy.
Labor backbencher Christine Campbell is the sponsor of the amendment to water down the bill as much as possible. She hopes more unborn children able to survive outside the womb will be protected.
‘What we’re arguing … is that if they are going to have abortion on demand in Victoria we have to be clear that children at six months in utero are perfectly viable," she told Sky News.
"If that child was born, they would be in intensive care at the hospital. You can’t have in the very same hospital, a child in one ward delivered and abandoned, and in another ward, one in intensive care," she said.
Other amendments would make counseling mandatory before the abortion and strengthen protections for medical professionals who don’t want to be involved in abortions.
As the bill currently reads, any physician who doesn’t want to do an abortion must refer the woman considering one to another doctor.
Campbell opposes that and says it is wrong to force medical personnel to violate their conscience or moral or religious views by making them refer women for abortions.
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