09.12.1311:54 AM ET

Australia Debates ‘Zoe’s Law’

Some say it is first step toward criminalizing abortion.

Australian women’s groups are building their defense against the proposed ”Zoe’s Law,” which would make it illegal to harm a fetus—what many say is the first step in criminalizing abortion. Zoe’s Law, named after the unborn child of a pregnant woman who had a miscarriage at 32 weeks after being hit by a car, would allow charges for injuring a fetus past 20 weeks' gestation. Women’s lobby groups are protesting the law, which was championed by Christian Democratic leader Fred Nile. According to Melanie Fernandez, chair of the Women's Electoral Lobby Australia (WELA), "This bill established personhood for a fetus and this is a very concerning precedent to be setting.”  Such protests have delayed voting among MPs.