A disturbing trend is emerging in the writings of those opposed to legal abortion. Since the passage of Victoria’s Law Reform Act last year, they have been campaigning against the limits the new law imposes on the rights of healthcare professionals to conscientiously object to involvement in abortion.

From Liberal Senator Julian McGauran's most recent contribution in Quadrant, to previous pieces by Father Frank Brennan (chair of the National Human Rights Consultation), Martin Laverty (CEO of Catholic Health Australia) and Doctor’s in Conscience’s Eamonn Mathieson, opponents of legal abortion argue that rights of medical professionals and Catholic health institutions to refuse care to women seeking abortions is absolute. Even where such denial could see a woman die, they maintain that refusing to provide an abortion is the right, and their right, to do.