Crossbench MP Fiona Patten is hoping to push a bill through the Victorian Parliament to stop public hospitals from preventing doctors from performing abortions.
The leader of the Reason Party said that basic human rights are being “denied” in public hospitals.
“The health care system treats those who fund it badly,” Ms. Patten said.
“Public hospitals and other health care institutions have no right to waive these statutory rights for women to control their bodies and reproductive health.”
Under current law in Victoria, pregnant women are allowed to have abortions up to 24 weeks.
The practitioner should then seek support from another practitioner regarding the appropriateness of the abortion.
However, hospitals receiving public money are not required to offer abortion services.
The bill will seek to protect abortion rights, expand family planning services, and ensure end-of-life rights in any hospital that receives government funding, including those with a religious affiliation.
It comes just a month after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in June that immediately criminalized abortion in several states.
Ms. Patten said the law would have no effect on the rights of individual healthcare professionals to refuse services based on personal religious beliefs.
“This does not infringe on any rights of people in the private healthcare system, where people have a choice between service providers,” she said.
“On the contrary, it protects the rights of doctors – the hospital cannot prevent the doctor from performing legal procedures.”
The law will also help overcome the geographic barriers faced by residents living further away from private hospitals.
“They don’t have to depend on their zip code to access the full range of public health services,” Ms Patten said.
Ms. Patten also calls for allowing nurses and midwives to have abortions and for increased research into treatments for endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain.
“Women make up half the population, but women’s health affects all of us,” she said.
Originally published as Victorian MP introduces bill to ban religious hospitals from refusing abortions