Friday, October 10, 2008

Abortion Decriminalised in Victoria, Australia

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

The final vote was 23 to 17.

The decision has been welcomed by former Premier, Joan Kirner a long-time pro-choice campaigner.

Ms Kirner said she is relieved the bill passed in the Upper House.

"It was fantastic to see people from all sides of the House standing up to make sure that women were no longer potential criminals," she said.

But Ms Kirner says the changes are not a certainty yet. There are still m ore than 60 amendments to be debated before a final vote.

There was an outburst in the public gallery from anti-abortion protesters when the vote was read out.

Pro Life Victoria President, Denise Cameron, says opponents of the bill have no intention of giving in.

"This will go on forever. They need to stand up and defend human life," she said.

Greens MP, Colleen Hartland, voted to decriminalise abortion, but is concerned amendments will undermine the Bill.

"If any of the amendments got up they could actually undermine what is current clinical practice," she said.

"And that's what this bill is about. It's about putting out what is actually happening already, into the legal framework. We're happy to sit today, tomorrow, Sunday, we'll sit until this is finished."

Democratic Labor Party MP, Peter Kavanagh, spoke for more than three hours last night, denouncing the abortion legislation.

He says no amendments would change his vote against reform.

"But even if the amendments get up, it will only be slightly improving a fundamentally flawed law," he said.

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