HOBART, Tasmania, November 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Tasmanian government has passed a new law, removing abortion from the criminal code.
The Legislative Council in Tasmania passed the Reproductive Health Bill this morning, with a vote 9-5 in favor. Tasmania is now the third Australian state to allow abortion.
The new law will permit unborn children to be aborted with the consent of only one doctor up to 16 weeks gestation and with the consent of two doctors after 16 weeks.
The former law required women to get approval from two doctors to get an abortion at any stage.
The bill requires doctors with moral objections to refer patients to someone who would be open to the procedure.
“The bill decriminalizes abortion – but criminalizes well-grounded medical or conscientious objection to the destruction of unborn human babies,” FamilyVoice Tasmania state officer Jim Collins said in a statement. “There is no freedom of conscience or proper informed consent.”
“It is disturbing to think that Tasmanian doctors who decline to give a list of abortionists to a woman who wants to abort for sex-selection reasons could face deregistration,” he said.
The new legislation also includes protest zone laws, restricting pro-lifers from offering assistance to mothers within 150 meters (approximately 164 yards) of an abortion mill.
Violators can be charged with a maximum $9,750 fine or be sentenced to 12 months in jail. An amendment reduced the maximum fine from $60,000 to $9,750.
Tasmania is the first state to have such laws. Abortions are currently only available in Tasmania through private clinics and are paid for by the individual. Pro-abortion advocates are praising the new legislation and they will be working to get government funding for abortions.
The government is boasting about the bill’s passage after recently failing to pass their euthanasia and same-sex ‘marriage’ bills. “[This bill] brings our laws into the 21st century, into line with community expectations and into line with the overwhelming majority of medical, legal and human rights opinion,” said Michelle O’Byrne, Minister for Health.
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“Women should not have to make such a decision with the threat – real or imagined – of criminal charges,” she added.
Australian Christian Lobby’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said in a press release, “The rights of children are less protected under this framework then being in the criminal code which acknowledges this is not just another medical procedure.”
“This means there’s less likelihood of a woman having informed consent about her decision. The majority of women and girls who have abortions do so because of a lack of support from partners, parents and friends. Research shows 70 percent of women say they felt they had no alternative to abortion,” he said.