Victoria’s minister for women, Gabrielle Williams, has described a Facebook post by Liberal MP Bernie Finn as “deplorable” after he wrote that he was “praying” for abortion to be banned in Australia.
The post was published on the upper house MP’s Facebook page on Wednesday night, after the leak of a draft decision showing a majority of US supreme court justices may overturn Roe v Wade, which makes abortion a constitutional right.
“So excited the US is on the verge of a major breakthrough to civilisation. Praying it will come here soon. Killing babies is criminal,” Finn said in the post.
When a woman, who commented she didn’t support abortion but believed there should be an option for victims of sexual assault, Finn replied: “Babies should not be killed for the crime of his or her parent.”
In a statement to Guardian Australia, Williams said there was no place for Finn’s comments in the community and urged the opposition leader, Matthew Guy, to take action.
“These are deplorable comments, that show an appalling lack of respect for women and completely disregard the trauma experienced by victims of sexual assault – instead prioritising the decisions of perpetrators over the needs of women victims of crime,” Williams said.
“We support all women to make choices that are right for them – women have the right to access reproductive services safely, legally and with dignity.”
Guy said the social media comments reflected Finn’s longstanding personal views on the issue.
“I am not interested in commenting on social policy in the United States,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“You can talk to Bernie about his points of view, but the Liberal party in Victoria focuses on matters in Victoria, not social policy in the United States. That is not on my radar in the slightest.”
Asked about the Liberal party’s stance on abortion, Guy said the party had allowed a conscience vote on the matter for many years.
“We’ve had free votes for many, many years on this matter – they’ll always continue,” he said.
The Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 decriminalised abortion in Victoria. Under the act, a woman can legally terminate a pregnancy up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
It’s not the first time Finn has been criticised for his social media posts. Last year, he deleted a Facebook post in which he compared premier Daniel Andrews to Adolf Hitler.
He has also expressed support for Donald Trump and the rioters who stormed the US Capitol building.
In an interview with Guardian Australia earlier this year, Guy dismissed reports Finn would be challenged for the No 1 position on the Western Metropolitan upper house ticket.
He described Finn as a “very loud and proud conservative”.
“Just because most of the mainstream media don’t like his views, that doesn’t mean that people who have his views shouldn’t have a place in parliament,” Guy said.