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GP warns on abortion law

A MELBOURNE GP facing deregist-ration under Victorian abortion laws for refusing to refer a client for an abortion has warned similar laws could soon spread to other states.

Dr Mark Hobart, who runs a practice at Sunshine North, gave the example of proposed abortion laws under discussion in Tasmania – Tasmanian Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2013.

“These laws would be even worse,” he said.

“A Tasmanian doctor could be fined $37,000 if he or she does not refer a client wishing to have an abortion.

“These laws have already gone through the lower house and are being discussed in the state’s upper house.”

Dr Hobart also warned laws could spread to other areas of medicine and society.

“Such laws are an attack by the state on the individual’s freedom of conscience,” he said.

“The precedents go far beyond abortion.

“It becomes a situation where a doctor is forced to practise against conscience in such areas as euthanasia.

“It’s a scary thing … there are no other similar laws to Victoria’s anywhere else in Australia or any other country in the world as far as I know.”

Dr Hobart has been under investigation for the past five months for an alleged breach of Section 8 of Victoria’s Abortion Law Reform Act 2008.

He was approached by a couple who requested an abortion after discovering at 19 weeks they were having a girl, but wanted a boy.

“I had a moral objection to providing the abortion and did not refer them for an abortion as I don’t know any doctor who would agree to abort a healthy baby for sex selection reasons,” Dr Hobart said.

Since the Abortion Law Reform Act was passed in 2008, Dr Hobart has joined Doctors 4 Freedom of Conscience.

He is also part of another group Doctors Conscience which opened a new website on October 28.

Dr Hobart said the website had a number of resources including a petition to support his case and to call for the abolition of Section 8 of Victoria’s abortion laws.

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