The chancellor of Notre Dame University has circulated a letter signed by three senior lawyers with links to the church in support of the proposed bill Zoe's Law, which recognises a foetus as a living person, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Terry Tobin, QC, the chancellor of Notre Dame University, has attacked the NSW Bar Association for opposing Zoe's Law, saying the association has failed to listen to the interests of the unborn child. Bill Dawe, QC, a former president of the Catholic lawyers guild, the St Thomas More Society, co-signed the letter, along with Brian Sully, QC.
Mr Tobin has lamented changes to abortion law in Victoria requiring doctors who object to the practice to refer a woman to another doctor who will do the procedure. He has publicly said the role of a Catholic university is to marshal arguments on the ''preciousness of human life'' in the national debate.
The emotion was raw as NSW Parliament began debating the private member's bill, MPs weighing up the need to protect women's rights, versus recognising the pain of a mother in the wake of the death of her foetus from a criminal act.
Nationals MP and former policeman Troy Grant, supporting the bill, was in tears as he recalled his stillborn sister. Mulgoa Liberal MP, Tanya Davies, revealed her miscarriages, as she also spoke for the bill. But Environment Minister Robyn Parker opposed the bill and said it could have serious repercussions for pregnant women seen to behave recklessly if it resulted in harm to their unborn child.