Shaw to rock Victoria’s abortion debate

Quoted as once saying that “Here in Australia we can’t kill snake eggs but we are quite happy to kill an egg in the tummy”, it is well known that balance-of-power MP Geoff Shaw has tried vigorously to change the state’s abortion laws.

So it should come as no surprise for Victorians to hear that the Independent MP is at it again.

However, what might come as a shock is the intensity of Shaw’s proposed amendments to abortion laws – which have been labelled a political “bombshell“.

In a bid to alleviate Victoria’s “poor” abortion laws, Shaw proposes six amendments to the current abortion laws.

  • Forcing doctors to resuscitate babies who survive the abortion process
  • A requirement for doctors to provide pain relief to a foetus during all termination procedures
  • Mandatory counselling for women who wish to have a termination
  • A requirement for informed consent to be legislated
  • Outlawing gender-selection abortion
  • The repeal of the current law requiring doctors to refer patients to another doctor if they refuse to perform an abortion

Geoff Shaw told Farifax Radio this morning that Victoria had “probably the second or third worst abortion laws in the world” – the most blood boiling point about abortion that he has made, according to the RMIT University Student Union’s Womyns Officer Gabriela Gonzalez-Forward.

“He is undermining women, their access to abortion services and fails to

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look at making things easier for women”, Gonzalez-Forward said.

Despite the majority of Victorian voters supporting abortion, Gonzalez-Forward believes that there is “no doubt” that Shaw is continuously using women as a “political and election play story”.

The issue of abortion has been a political hot potato in the state since an emotional debate around decriminalising the procedure divided both major parties in 2008.

But Victorian Labor leader Daniel Andrews has stated that he wants nothing to do with MP Shaw’s latest proposals. And last year Premier Denis Napthine vowed his government would not try to change abortion laws.

Despite the speculation that Geoff Shaw’s proposals will impact the upcoming state election, RMIT politics lecturer Philip Dearman doesn’t believe a draft legislation on these proposals will pass before the election.

“Parliament is more concerned with economics at the moment – things like transport and infrastructure,” Dearman said.

However, when asked how influential Shaw can be in drafting these proposals Dearman said the Independent has an “enormous bargaining power” because his vote is essential – especially in a hung parliament.

“If he [Shaw] pushes the Liberal party, I think they could have some mud on their cloaks,” Dearman said.

By Hashela Kumarawansa


Picture: WikiMedia Commons

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