Abortion never the answer, says Libs candidate

Farrah Tomazin & Josh Gordon

A sitting Victorian Liberal MP is be­ing challenged for preselection by a pro-life campaigner who believes women should never have abortions, even in cases of rape.

Stephanie Ross, the partner of “Young Turk” and party numbers man Marcus Bastiaan, is preparing to challenge 65-year-old incumbent Gary Blackwood for his Gippsland seat of Narracan.

The looming preselection stoush has heightened concerns about a push to drag the Liberals further to the right, which many fear could hinder their chances of defeating Labor at the 2018 Victorian election.

Ms Ross, 25, is aligned with the Menzies branch of the party, which is controlled by conservative warrior and former defence minister Kevin Andrews.

While some argue the preselection of Ms Ross would give the Liberals some much-needed youth, and help narrow the party’s gender gap, others say her views on abortion are too “extreme”.

In a January 2015 interview with on-line magazine Vice, Ms Ross, a Catholic, argued women can “heal from rape”, and “there is no situation in which a child should be killed”.

Asked if a rape victim should have her baby, she told the publication: “Well she’ll never forget the abor­tion, which means she will never for­get the rape. Whereas, so many wo­men who are raped, they find love through their child, and they can grow or they can adopt and know they’ve given it a life. And they can heal from the rape, in a way,” she said in the article, “At Home With Three Young Anti-Abortion Protesters”.

“I still think that, because it is a human being, for me personally there is no situation in which a child should be killed.”

Ms Ross declined to comment, with party rules banning preselec­tion candidates from speaking pub­licly in the media. However, in a Face-book post confirming her nomina­tion on Friday [9 December], she argued that, in the face of the Hazelwood closure, the Narracan community “needs fear­less advocacy and the Liberal Party needs new faces and a fresh approach” to win the election.

In an opinion piece penned for Fairfax Media in November, Ms Ross, a self-described anti-family viol­ence advocate and founder of aged care service Kookaburra Care, also argued the focus of modern pro-life advocates should not be about cri­minalising abortion or shaming women, but “lowering the rate of abor­tion by addressing causational issues and promoting alternatives”.

Nonetheless, her preselection nomination is seen by some as part of a broader push by a group of Lib­erals aligned with party president Michael Kroger to redefine the power lines in the Victorian branch.

It comes a week after conservative Turnbull government MPs, including Mr Andrews, had been accused of recruiting members of hard-line micro-parties such as Family First and the Australian Christians, a move some insiders called “horrifying”.

Mr Kroger and state Liberal dir­ector Simon Frost declined to com­ment about Ms Ross’s pro-life inter­view, while Opposition leader Mat­thew Guy said: “I disagree with that view”.

From: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/prolife-campaigner-challenges-liberal-...