Updated: October 10, 2013 08:39 PM GMT
A Catholic doctor who refused to sanction a sex-selective abortion is fighting for his career after a complaint was made against him.
Dr Mark Hobart could be struck off Australia’s medical register for declining to arrange an abortion of a healthy girl because her parents wanted a boy instead.
He was asked for an abortion by an Indian couple who wanted to a boy but the mother was 19 weeks pregnant with a girl.
But he would not accede to their demands because the pregnancy was at an “advanced stage” and because he saw no medical necessity for it.
He also refused to refer the woman and her husband to a second doctor who would arrange the procedure.
The couple found another doctor and went ahead with the abortion a few days later.
An investigation was launched into the conduct of Dr Hobart after he publicly discussed his case and members of the Medical Board of Victoria complained about him.
The Victoria Abortion Reform Act 2008 allows conscientious objection only if doctors will find other medics to arrange abortions instead.
The Melbourne-based medic is being investigated by the Medical Board of Australia and also by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency – the Australian equivalent of the General Medical Council – and he could lose his licence to practice medicine anywhere in the country.
“I refused to refer the patient because there was no medical reason to do it and it offended my moral conscience,” said Dr Hobart, 55, who has practised medicine for 27 years.