Australian leader introduces bill to block religious hospitals from refusing abortions

NEW DELHIUpdated: Aug 02, 2022, 12:50 AM IST

Abortion has been one of the most controversial subjects in the world. Photograph:(AFP)

Story highlights

Reason Party leader Fiona Patten says imposing faith in hospitals results in women being denied the health services they need.The state government says Victoria already has the most progressive laws in Australia.Catholic hospital Mercy Health says it values the dignity of life from conception to death.

Fiona Patten, a cross-party MP, wants to halt public hospitals in Victoria from prohibiting doctors from conducting abortions.

Fundamental human rights are currently being "denied," according to the leader of the Reason Party, in public hospitals.

According to Ms. Patten, "the health system is mistreating people who finance it."

"Publicly funded hospitals and other healthcare organisations have no authority to reject these legally recognised rights that a woman has autonomy over her body and reproductive health," the statement reads.

Pregnant women in Victoria have access to abortions up to 24 weeks after conception under the law as it stands.

After that, a medical professional must get confirmation from another doctor that performing an abortion is okay. Hospitals that receive government funding, however, are not compelled to provide abortion services.

The legislation will work to uphold end-of-life rights in all publicly funded hospitals, including those with religious ties, as well as increase family planning services and defend abortion rights. It happened barely one month after the momentous Roe v. Wade ruling, which immediately made abortion illegal in several states, was overturned by the US Supreme Court.

According to Patten, the legislation has no bearing on each medical professional's freedom to decline to provide services based on their own personal religious convictions.

(With inputs from agencies)


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