Victoria, Australia Bill to Legalize Abortions Draws Opposition From Doctors
by Steven Ertelt
September 29, 2008
Melbourne, Australia (LifeNews.com) — A new group of physicians has organized to oppose the bill in the Victoria state parliament that would officially legalize abortions even though they have been allowed for many years in Australia. The doctors say the new law would drive physicians and other medical professionals away.
Under the so-called Abortion Law Reform Bill, abortions will be allowed for any reason up to 24 weeks into pregnancy.
Lawmakers in the lower house approved the measure earlier this month on a 48-28 vote with MPs getting a conscience vote allowing them to depart from the party position on the legislation.
The lower house also defeated every one of the dozens of pro-life amendments to limit the reach of the bill — including lowing the allowance for abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks into pregnancy.
Now, a new group of more than 100 doctors called Doctors in Conscience Against Abortion Bill is saying that the pro-abortion bill may have the effect of reducing the number of medical professionals to help the state’s millions of residents.
They say doctors will retire early or move to another Australian state because of some of the onerous provisions in the legislation.
Pediatrician Brian Conway told The Age newspaper that the members are concerned about the aspect of the bill that forces doctors to refer women who want an abortion to someone who will do one — essentially making them participate in the obtaining of the abortion.
"Many doctors, nurses and pharmacists with strong ethical, religious and cultural beliefs against abortion will have to consider whether to continue to practice in breach of the law or to discontinue working as health-care professionals in this state," Conway told the paper.
"The state should not coerce its health professionals to participate in the taking of human life," he said.
The newspaper also indicated that three leading physicians, including Dr. Graeme Clark, Professor John Leeton AM, and Professor David Clarke, are planning to release an open letter criticizing the bill.
They argue that four doctors should sign off on any abortion after 20 weeks because the baby is reaching viability beginning at that point.
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.