Tasmania’s abortion law: conscientious objection and duty to refer

Congratulations to Ronli Sifris, who recently published a paper in the Journal of Law and Medicine.

“Tasmania’s Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Act 2013: An analysis of conscientious objection to abortion and the ‘obligation to refer,’”  by Ronli Sifris,  Journal of Law and Medicine 22(2015): 900-914    Article online.

Abstract:   This article focuses on Tasmania’s Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Act 2013, which decriminalises abortion in that State. Part I of this article provides an overview of the Tasmanian legislation, comparing it with Victoria’s Abortion Law Reform Act 2008. Part II then shifts its focus to a more in-depth analysis of a doctor’s right to “conscientious objection” and the requirement in both Acts of an “obligation to refer”. The article concludes that ultimately, as a democratic society it is important that we respect both a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy and a doctor’s right to freedom of conscience. Where these rights conflict, as is the case when a doctor with a conscientious objection to abortion is confronted with a patient who seeks information about abortion, they must be balanced. The Victorian and Tasmanian Acts represent a considered and reasonable approach to balancing the rights at issue.

Full text of this article can be downloaded here.

Conscientious Objection – Program publications and Recommended Reading, including the above article, are online here.

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