Media Release

Freedom of conscience for doctors important in Religious Freedom Reforms

New research by Professor Louise Keogh at the University of Melbourne has revealed a small minority of doctors are going against the state abortion legislation by not complying with the requirement to actively refer women seeking abortions to willing practitioners. 

It has long been known that there are doctors who conscientiously object to abortion, often on faith grounds, said the Australian Christian Lobby. 

“The fact that it is illegal for a doctor to protect their conscience in respect of a life and death matter like abortion is a blight on Victorian law,” commented ACL’s managing director Martyn Iles.  

“Nobody should be compelled by the state to violate their conscience.” 

“The mental anguish and long-term guilt caused by violating a person’s conscience constitutes real harm. That is nothing less than discrimination, especially against people with a faith identity.” 

“What we see under current Victorian legislation is a form of state-sanctioned discrimination against people of faith. Some simple inclusions by the federal government in the proposed religious discrimination act could end this kind of human rights violation wherever it occurs in Australia,” said Mr Iles. 

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