Andrew Smith, Australian correspondent

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Doctor receives outpouring of support after refusing to refer for sex-selective abortion

Andrew Smith, Australian correspondent
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MELBOURNE, October 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Australian doctor Mark Hobart, who is being investigated by medical authorities after refusing to refer a couple for a sex-selective abortion, is receiving support from both members of the public and some of his fellow health professionals, including at least one apparent abortionist.

Under the Victorian state Abortion Law Reform Act 2008, a doctor who has a conscientious objection to abortion is compelled to refer a patient on to another practitioner who does not hold that objection. For the past five months, Dr. Hobart, who is avowedely pro-life, has been under investigation for allegedly violating the law.  

“My belief that abortion, specifically, foeticide is morally wrong is based on scientific evidence, reason and logic,” Dr. Hobart told LifeSiteNews.com.  He said that the current abortion law in Victoria is wrong because “it compels doctors to perform or comply with an objectively morally wrong act.”

Readers who responded to an article about the investigation in the Herald-Sun in the Letters to the Editor section agreed. They were unanimous in their congratulatory praise for the doctor who is enduring what one reader described as “morally, logically wrong” treatment by Australian health authorities.

Reader Gabrielle Walsh wrote: “What is at stake in the case of Dr Mark Hobart is the right of all medical professionals to form their best medical judgement.” She called for the medical establishment to demand an amendment to the Abortion Law Reform Act 2008, which mandates that doctors refer patients for abortion. 

Other readers asked how a doctor can be put on trial for “non-professional conduct” when the Hippocratic oath calls for lives to be saved and not terminated – especially in the case of a healthy pregnancy.  They also lamented that a doctor can be charged for defending the life of an unborn baby.

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By far the biggest surprise for Dr. Hobart has been the support from the medical community, who had otherwise remained silent, but many members of which have now backed his decision.

"The general response from my colleagues is disbelief and revulsion," he told the Herald Sun, explaining that he didn't know any doctors who would perform a sex selective abortion. 

LifeSiteNews spoke individually to a number of Australian doctors, who expressed concerns that the medical community is afraid of speaking out against the Victorian law and those that are enforcing it, fearing retribution from medical boards.  But this wasn't an issue for the handful of healthcare professionals that commented on an article on Dr Hobart in the Medical Observer, as they were able to write under their screen names.  Articles on this site normally don't attract any comments. 

The most notable support came from “DrPhil,” who said he is an abortionist and who wrote, “the law's shortcomings demonstrated yet again. As an abortion provider for over 30 years (in the practise of my specialty) I sympathise with Dr Hobart. Are we ‘duty bound’ to be ‘aware’ of people who will provide the service requested? It's well outside my sphere of practice. Does ANY Victorian public hospital accede to such requests?”

Other health professionals who wrote on the page said they were stunned that this could happen. One pointed to the “incompetence and aggressive attitude” of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.  Both the Victorian state government and the Australian federal Senate have been holding inquiries in to the performance of AHPRA.  “Doe” asked AHPRA and the Medical Board of Australia to “have the courage to state that they support abortion purely for sex selection” as it would be the only explanation possible for their pursuit of Dr Hobart. 

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