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Tasmania becomes third territory in Australia to open abortion floodgates

by | Nov 22, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

tasmaniaTasmania, a little Australian island state, has passed legislation that not only essentially legalizes abortion on demand, but also lessens conscience protections for doctors and excludes pro-lifers from offering assistance to pregnant women within an area roughly 164 yards of an abortion clinic.

In removing abortion from the criminal code, Victoria became the third jurisdiction in Australia to do so, joining Victoria and the ACT (the Australian Capital Territory).

Diana Hutchinson, writing at mercatornet.com, explains

“The new law provides that a mother may be granted an abortion up to 16 weeks gestation on request. After 16 weeks an abortion may be performed if two medical practitioners believe that continuing the pregnancy would involve a greater risk to the mother’s physical or mental health than if the abortion were performed. The law mandates that these doctors must consider the woman’s physical, psychological, economic and social circumstances.

“No cooling off period, no mandated independent counselling, no gestational limits.

“Incredibly, despite much rhetoric that the Legislators proposing these laws ‘value life,’ an attempt to introduce an amendment that would prevent abortion from 20 weeks onwards unless there were severe medical problems, was voted down.

“Given these broad criteria, it is impossible to contemplate a scenario in which a mother’s request for an abortion after 16 weeks gestation could be refused. This is abortion on demand through to birth.”

Hutchinson also explained how rights of conscience were hemmed in and limited:

“The proposed conscientious objection clauses, compelling doctors and counsellors with a conscientious objection to ‘refer’ a woman seeking an abortion to a practitioner without a conscientious objection, were the subject of considerable debate. Eventually they were substantially altered to exclude counsellors and remove an obligation to ‘refer.’

“But what remains is still most unsatisfactory to those doctors who maintain a conscientious objection to abortion.

“The law now requires them to provide the woman with a list of ‘prescribed health services’ from which the woman may seek advice, information or counselling on the ‘full range of pregnancy options’ – ie, including abortion. This law exceeds the duties required by the Medical Board of Australia in its Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia, as it compels practitioners to positively facilitate access to abortion rather than simply ‘not impede’ access to abortion.

“For doctors with a conscientious objection, handing over this pamphlet means they are complicit in the provision of the abortion service.”

Australian Christian Lobby’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said in a press release, “The rights of children are less protected under this framework then being in the criminal code which acknowledges this is not just another medical procedure.” Brown added, “This means there’s less likelihood of a woman having informed consent about her decision. The majority of women and girls who have abortions do so because of a lack of support from partners, parents and friends. Research shows 70 percent of women say they felt they had no alternative to abortion.”