Abortion Rights statement of solidarity with Victorian (Australia) women
Abortion Rights fully supports the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 in its entirety, including Section 8. We denounce any and all recent attempts by a tiny minority of anti-choice doctors to reverse any aspect of the Act. In particular, we are appalled that at least one registered medical doctor has broken the law by not referring women patients seeking a termination.
Victoria’s law is simple and explicit as to what is required of doctors – the obligation to refer to a medical practitioner who does not have a conscientious objection (not necessarily an abortion provider). The obligation to refer upholds doctors’ right to conscientiously object, and modestly asks doctors to tell women the truth and to pass the patient on. In the same vein, women have the right to be told the truth and still seek medical care– their needs should not be trumped by another individual’s opinion, particularly a doctor who has registered to uphold the right to health.
The obligation to refer is standard practice in many countries worldwide; however, the British 1967 Abortion Act does not include the obligation to refer, and the risk this poses to British women’s health should not be underestimated.
If an individual doctor is morally opposed to referrals, they are negating their legal and ethical duty of care, and inhibiting women’s right to health.
We share the belief that it is good healthcare practice and better for women to be given truthful, non-bias medical information at their request.
We offer our solidarity to those urging the Victorian Parliament to not renege on commitments already made to uphold women’s health, and to stand by Victorian women.
Executive Committee, Abortion Rights