News reports emerged over the weekend about a Victorian doctor who is being investigated by the Medical Board of Victoria for not being able to refer a patient, who sought a sex-selection abortion, onto another health care professional he knew wouldn’t have a conscientious objection.
The Herald’s Miranda Devine wrote on Sunday, October 7th that Dr Mark Hobart is being accused of having committed an offence under the state’s Abortion Law Reform Act of 2008.
Dr Hobart was approached by an Indian couple who wanted to abort a baby girl at 19 weeks because they wanted a boy. Mr Hobart, a Catholic, had a conscience objection to performing the abortion and didn’t know any doctor who would agree to an abortion for sex selection reasons.
The couple independently procured an abortion a few days later but the Medical Board of Victoria is investigating Dr Hobart’s actions.
Dr Hobart said that requests for information about the substance of his complaint and the accusers have been denied.
Victorian Labor MP for Pascoe Vale Christine Campbell put out a media release on Monday criticising the lack of transparency at the Medical Board.
She said she has written to the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which is the parent of the Medical Board, criticising the lack of transparency.
She said the Medical Board and AHPRA are accusing Mark of:
1. Failing in his obligation to refer a female patient seeking treatment or advice on abortion to a non-objecting practitioner;
2. Demonstrating a disregard for his obligations as a medical practitioner; and
3. Demonstrating a disregard for patient rights.
Dr Mark Hobart’s refusal to give a sex-selection abortion made headlines in April this year and he said that he received the notice from the Medical Board of Victoria three weeks later.
If you know of a Victorian doctor who is troubled by the obligation to refer for an abortion in any and/or every circumstance please contact Ms Campbell via her website.