Tasmania's Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Act 2013: An analysis of conscientious objection to abortion and the "obligation to refer"

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    This article focuses on Tasmania's Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Act 2013, which decriminalises abortion in that State. The article first provides an overview of the Tasmanian legislation, comparing it with Victoria's Abortion Law Reform Act 2008. It then provides a more in-depth analysis of a doctor's right to "conscientious objection" and the requirement in both Acts of an "obligation to refer". The article concludes that ultimately, as a democratic society, it is important that both a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy and a doctor's right to freedom of conscience is respected. Where these rights conflict, as is the case when a doctor with a conscientious objection to abortion is confronted with a patient who seeks information about abortion, they must be balanced. The Victorian and Tasmanian Acts represent a considered and reasonable approach to balancing the rights at issue.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)900 - 914
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Law and Medicine
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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