Please circulate and sign this petition in support of an amendment to Section 8 of the Abortion Law Reform Act - to be received by 10am Wednesday 6th November 2013

The Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 (the Act) legalises abortion, without any qualification for unborn babies, up to 24 weeks.

Section 8 of the Act requires that a medical practitioner with a conscientious objection to abortion must refer a patient seeking an abortion (or advice on abortion) to another practitioner who has no conscientious objection. This provision has the effect of penalising both freedom of expression and freedom of conscience.

The attached Petition highlights the plight of Dr Mark Hobart, a Victorian Doctor, who recently refused to make a referral for an abortion, where a couple sought to terminate their 19 week old unborn child because she was a girl instead of a boy. For this non-referral the Medical Board of Victoria has commenced a disciplinary investigation of Dr Hobart, despite there being no complaint by his patient.

The Petition seeks that the Legislative Assembly of Victoria protect doctors nurses and allied health professionals from being forced to act against their conscience and refer for abortions.

Speaking in Melbourne on 19 October, Professor Greg Craven (Vice-Chancellor of ACU and Crown Counsel to the Victorian Government from 1992 to 1995) addressed the seriousness of the effect of section 8 .He stated:

“I have never faced a more serious topic in my life…The reason I say that is because…we face a crisis in the protection of conscience in relation to healthcare; a crisis that can spread beyond abortion into all sorts of areas of healthcare; and beyond healthcare into a whole variety of contexts of conscience; and we have to do something about it. … The reality is, the right to conscience is the right not to be constrained against your moral precepts…The basis of that right is the right of every person to an individual personality, because if a person cannot act on their basic moral precepts, they are not a person. A person who does not have a right to conscience has been denied their right to individuality.”

Please print off the Petition and obtain signatures. Then post back to the electoral office of Christine Campbell MP (details at foot of petition) to reach her by 10 am Tuesday 5 November 2013

(Note: currently only handwritten Petitions are acceptable in the Victorian Parliament)