The Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart has called on the Victorian Parliament 'to act to protect the right of medical practitioners to freedom of conscience in this important and sensitive area,' reports The Herald Sun.
In a statement released in response to moves within the Victorian parliament to consider changes to abortion legislation, Archbishop Hart said: 'The Act needs to be amended to uphold the right of a doctor to conscientiously object to carrying out or referring for an abortion without any personal or professional disadvantage,' he said.
A video message from Premier Denis Napthine during which he ruled out changes to abortion laws has angered some government MPs.
The divisive issue has been put back on the agenda by rogue balance-of-power MP Geoff Shaw, who wants to change the state's abortion laws so doctors objecting to the procedure don't have to refer women to practitioners supportive of abortion.
At least one Liberal MP who backs Mr Shaw's approach has been warned to back off by Coalition colleagues over the issue. The Herald Sun can reveal that Labor MPs sympathetic to law changes are also now discussing options. Most state MPs expect the issue to be kept out of Parliament this week, despite Mr Shaw continuing to draft a Private Members Bill.
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