A private member's bill before the Victorian Parliament seeks to criminalise late-term abortions in that state. Lucy Battersby writes in the Age newspaper about the opposition to the bill and the controversy surrounding disputed claims about late-term abortions. The Bill was introduced by a female member of parliament:
Australia's peak health body and senior obstetricians are urging Victorian politicians to vote down a new abortion bill, saying it criminalises a medical procedure and jeopardises good medical practice.
The new laws, proposed by Democratic Labour Party MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins, aim to stop women getting an abortion after 24 weeks gestation and dictates doctors behave in a certain way. It was scheduled for debate in the upper house on Wednesday.
"The Infant Viability Bill criminalises abortion and commands doctors to provide certain types of neonatal and perinatal care," the Australian Medical Association's Victorian arm said in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon.
"The AMA urges MPs to vote against this bill, as it jeopardises the independence of medicine ... it criminalises a medical procedure ... [and] it dictates that certain medial services must be provided to all patients".
The bill provides a platform for conservative anti-abortion activism coinciding with the federal election campaign. This article from the Age, suggests that some comments made by church leaders are contested by members of the medical profession.
Rachel Carling-Jenkins from the Democratic Labour Party is a member of the Legislative Council . The DLP was created following the ALP split of 1955. The party had no parliamentary seats in Australia from 1976 until the election of Peter Kavanagh in Victoria (2006-2010) and John Madigan, Senator for Victoria, (2010-2014).
In her first speech to parliament Dr Jenkins did not directly address changes to abortion laws, but said:
I refuse to believe that we can determine that one human being has a greater right to live or to be protected simply because they are healthier, more intelligent, richer or better able to survive without the help and support of others. I will be a voice for their right to life, protection and self-determination.