Doctors and nurses will be able to refuse to perform medical procedures such as terminations or gender reassignment surgery because of religious beliefs under new proposed federal laws. Attorney-General Christian Porter unveiled the Religious Discrimination Bill on Thursday which enshrines, for the first time, health practitioners’ right to make conscientious objections. While some state-based legislation on terminations deal with conscientious objections, the federal law would prevent hospitals from requiring its employees to provide any service that conflicts with their religious belief, such as prescribing contraception. Discrimination law expert at Melbourne University Liam Elphick said the move had taken many people by surprise. “If a hospital requires all of its doctors to perform, for instance, procedures relating to transgender surgeries or to abortions and a doctor wants to opt-out of that and they’re not allowed to then that would be considered unlawful discrimination under the bill," he said. “That is […]