Date November 7, 2013
State Political Reporter at The Age
The Napthine government is not ruling out changes to Victoria’s abortion laws ahead of an investigation into a doctor who refused to give a couple an abortion referral because they wanted a boy.
The state government said it was interested in the outcome of the Medical Board of Victoria’s investigation into Mark Hobart, a pro-life doctor who has been accused of breaking the state’s abortion laws.
It comes as pro-life advocates run a concerted campaign to repeal a section of the Abortion Law Reform Act, which requires doctors who have a conscientious objection to abortion to refer a woman to someone with no such objection.
When asked if there would be any changes to the act, which decriminalises abortion and was passed by parliament in 2008, a government spokesman said it respected the decision of the parliament on “this important issue”.
But the spokesman said there was a variety of views across the parliament on the requirement for mandatory referral.
“All members of parliament will be interested in the board’s decision and commentary on this case, and also in the views of the Australian Medical Association (Victorian Division) on these matters.”
In keeping with past practice, it is likely there would be a conscience vote on any proposed changes to abortion laws.