Balance of power MP Geoff Shaw will unleash a potentially toxic debate upon state parliament as he vows to introduce sweeping amendments to Victoria's abortion laws.
The Frankston MP has reportedly promised to introduce a bill ahead of this year's state election outlawing gender-selection abortions and forcing doctors to resuscitate babies who survive the abortion process.
The changes are likely to cause headaches for both Premier Denis Napthine and Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews, as well as unleashing debate and division across the parliament.
They would also include a requirement for doctors to provide pain relief to a foetus during all termination procedures.
Women's rights groups had feared Shaw, upon whose vote the government relies to remain in office, would introduce a bill overturning the law requiring doctors opposed to performing abortions to refer women to another practitioner.
But Shaw is instead poised to go much further, telling a newspaper he would put forward a radical proposal based around six major law changes.
Shaw described Victoria's abortion laws as among the worst in the world and styled himself as a protector of women's rights, a claim sure to enrage women's group already nervous about potential winding back of the state's abortion laws.
"If in society we are saying there should be more women on boards there should be more females in parliament, well you are killing them," he reportedly said.
"How can any women who are pro women's rights say that you can kill girls?"
Shaw also wants counselling mandated for women who wish to have a termination and for a requirement for informed consent to be legislated.
Abortion has been largely dormant as a political issue in the state since an often-biiter and emotional debate around decriminalising the procedure divided both major parties in 2008.
While the parliament eventually voted in favour of decriminalising abortion, many MPs struggled emotionally throughout the debate in which now-Premier Denis Napthine was a conspicuous opponent of decriminalising the procedure.
While the state Liberal party recently changed its platform, adopting a belief that the law on doctor referrals should be changed, Premier Napthine has stressed in recent months that his government would do nothing to wind back abortion laws.
"As Premier, neither I, nor my government, have any intention of introducing legislation, that would reduce a woman's right to choose," he said in December.
"This issue was vigorously debated in the community, and settled in the Parliament, in 2008."
But the Premier has been under pressure from the likes of Shaw and Liberal hardliners such as upper house MP Bernie Finn and a parliamentary vote would be an unwelcome event in the leadup to November's state election.
"Here in Australia we can't kill snake eggs but we are quite happy to kill an egg in the tummy and it should be the safest place for a baby to be," Shaw reportedly said.
The stomach plays no major role in pregnancy, with eggs released by fallopian tubes and a foetus gestating inside a woman's uterus.
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