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The AMA urges Parliament to vote down abortion bill

Tuesday 23 May 2016

In Victoria, abortion is a medical procedure – not a crime. The Infant Viability Bill criminalises abortion and commands doctors to provide certain types of neonatal and perinatal medical care. The AMA urges MPs to vote against this Bill, as it jeopardises the independence of medicine.

The Infant Viability Bill interferes with medical care:

  • It criminalises a medical procedure, and doctors will face up to five years’ imprisonment if prosecuted.
  • It dictates that certain medical services must be provided to all patients, regardless of a patient’s wishes or the treating doctor’s clinical discretion.

“The perinatal and neonatal care provided in Victoria is determined by doctors and their patients. It is world class, safe, legal and clinically appropriate. The Australian Medical Association (Victoria) strongly opposes the Infant Viability Bill,” Dr Lorraine Baker, President of AMA Victoria, said today.

“The Bill suggests that the neonatal intensive care provided at the Royal Children’s Hospital, the Royal Women's Hospital, Monash Medical Centre and Mercy Hospital for Women is inappropriate. This is insulting and wrong. 

“By attempting to legislate medical care, this Bill jeopardises good medical practice and decision making on a case by case basis. AMA Victoria urges the Victorian Parliament to vote down this Bill,” Dr Baker said.

AMA Victoria’s position on abortion remains unchanged since 2008: termination of pregnancy is a health issue and as a medical procedure should not form part of the criminal law. The AMA’s position statement on Women’s Health reflects this position. It states:

Women should have access to legal and safe abortion; reliable, safe and affordable contraception; information and services to support adoption or maintaining a pregnancy; and appropriate sexual and reproductive health and information. Health services and policies should support women’s health throughout pregnancy and birth. Critical recognition should be given to improving access to such services and information in rural and remote areas, and to ensuring that services, information and targeted programs are available and appropriate for women with limited language literacy, women with disabilities, women from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

AMA Victoria’s position on abortion is supported by the AMA Victoria Board and AMA Victoria Council, which voted in support of the decriminalisation of abortion in 2008. This position, however, cannot be read as representing the views of all doctors.


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MEDIA CONTACT - Felicity Ryan 0437 450 506

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