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The opposition of Catholic Health Australia to the Victoria's Abortion Law Reform Bill's   attempts to override the conscience of medical practitioners who refuse to refer patients for abortion  is fully justified:  ("Abortion laws face growing hostility" - 29/9/08).  The Bill is a violation of conscience and religious belief, the very antithesis of democracy, and what is ordinarily only expected in a totalitarian regime.

There is, however, a further grave objection.  A doctor may not only have a conscientious objection to abortion, but from his own personal knowledge of his patient and her family may also know that she falls in the high risk category for the development of psychological problems (e.g. the suicide of UK artist Emma Beck) or has a family history of breast cancer.  Full-term pregnancy has a protective effect against breast cancer. 

Doctors who refer patients for abortion and abortion providers are often unaware of these risks.  In these circumstances it could be gross negligence to refer the patient on as required by the Bill.  As a trial lawyer I have acted for and obtained settlements for women who sued abortionists for not being warned of these risks.   

A doctor  is not required to refer a patient  for a tonsillectomy if he does not think it is in the best interests of that patient.

Being compelled to provide a referral for an abortion may  override a doctor's medical judgment as to what is in his patient's best interests and involve him in what amounts to medical malpractice. 

Charles Francis, AM, QC
12 Denham Place,
Toorak, Vic. 3142
Ph: (03) 9822 5218




Member Organisation, World Council for Life and Family

NGO in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the UN