LATE-term abortions and a fine for doctors who object to abortion are the key issues in proposed legislation to decriminalise abortion in Tasmania.
Public comment on draft legislation closes today and more than 1300 submissions have already been received.
Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne is sponsoring the Reproductive Health Act as a private members's bill and said she expected to receive another influx of submissions today.
``Broadly, the number of submissions opposing the new legislation outnumbers those in support, however, a significant portion of the submissions have come from interstate and many have not addressed the legislation,'' Ms O'Byrne said.
The proposed legislation would remove abortion from the Criminal Code, where it attracts a penalty of up to 21 years' jail unless two doctors declare it justified on the grounds of the woman's physical and mental health.
It would allow open access to abortion up to 24 weeks' gestation.
After 24 weeks, two doctors would be required to certify that it was necessary for the woman's physical and mental health, similar to existing provisions.
The draft legislation also includes a $65,000 fine for medical professionals who have a conscientious objection to abortion and either refuse to disclose that to a woman who comes to them seeking advice or refuse to refer her to another, non-objecting, service.
An anti-abortion silent protest will be held on the lawns of Parliament House at noon tomorrow to urge politicians not to support the proposed legislation.
A petition opposing the proposed legislation and calling for a ban on all late-term (post 20-week) abortions except in life-threatening circumstances has attracted 2718 signatures.
A similar petition, started by advocacy group Pro-Choice Tasmania late this week to show support for the reform, was on track to get 1000 signatures by midnight last night.
The Australian Christian Lobby will hold a forum on the proposed changes at the Hobart Town Hall on Monday night.