Victorian MPs have voted against a bill which would expand access to abortions across some of the state’s hospitals.
The bill, which was introduced by Reason Party MP Fiona Patten after Roe v Wade was overturned in the US, sought to stop publicly-funded hospitals (including hospitals associated with religious organisations) from refusing to perform abortions.
In the same way, the bill also sought to extend access to end-of-life treatments to patients who wanted to be euthanised.
But ministers in favour of the bill were in the minority. On Wednesday, it was defeated 28-7.
Taking to Twitter, Patten expressed her “disappointment” at the decision.
“This is a loss for women & gender diverse Victorians, and a loss for free & fair public health services. A win for religious ideology in the public health system.”
Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas explained that the opposition to the bill was because the state already has sufficient laws when it comes to pregnancy terminations.
“We have here in Victoria the most progressive laws in the nation when it comes to ensuring women can access the sexual reproductive services they need, including access to termination of pregnancy,” Thomas said.
Historically, private members bills are also rarely supported by government ministers.
The Victorian Greens Party leader, Samantha Ratnam, Tweeted her support for Patten’s proposal.
“In the wake of Roe v Wade being overturned, it’s more important than ever that women & gender diverse people everywhere are able to access abortions at *all* publicly funded hospitals. They should also be free,” she wrote.
Abortion is not commonly completely funded in Australia—Medicare covers some costs under the public health system, though it doesn’t always cover all costs. Abortions undertaken under private healthcare are even more costly.
Patten has said that her work isn’t over yet. She confirmed that if she is re-elected, she will reintroduce the bill to parliament for a second time: “We may have had a loss today, but if I am re-elected—I promise I will fight tooth and nail to improve access to abortion.”