Saturday, 11 October 2008

Vic Parliament passes abortion bill

The Upper House debated the bill for four consecutive days and nights, and last night a final vote was counted. It passed 23 votes to 17.

All amendments were rejected, including a proposal to exempt doctors who object to abortions from having to refer their patients onwards.

Abortion will now be removed from the Crimes Act and a woman can freely choose to terminate a pregnancy up to 24 weeks gestation. Late term abortions will require the consent of two doctors.

Women's Affairs Minister Maxine Morand says it is an historic moment.

"We now have clarity and certainty for women and health practitioners in Victoria and that is fundamentally and incredibly important," she said.

She says the lengthy parliamentary debate may be the longest in history.

"It'd be hard to find a bill that has been debated as long as this in the history of the Victorian Parliament," she said.

"I might even have a look at what we can compare it with, but it's certainly a unique moment in time."

Liberal MP Wendy Lovell says she is relieved abortion is no longer a crime.

"It's actually historic that it's happened in October 2008, because it was October 1908 that women were given the vote," she said.

"So 100 years later, women have again won the right to be in control of their own bodies."

Both sides of the parliamentary debate praised the respect and restraint shown by the other side.


Abortion bill passed in conscience vote
The bill to decriminalise abortion in Victoria has passed a conscience vote of Upper House MPs by six votes.

Victorian lower house passes abortion law
A law to decriminalise abortion in Victoria has been passed by the lower house of Parliament.

Vic rally calls for abortion rights
Ms Brennan said its supporters wanted abortion rights for women at all stages of their pregnancy. The main message is that the majority out there in the community will not accept a compromise on abortion rights.

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