'Tummy eggs' multiply: Australian MP goes viral

TESSA VAN DER RIET
Last updated 14:50 10/05/2014

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An Australian politician's unique grasp of biology has created an international stir, giving birth to the bewildering term "tummy eggs" on social media.   

Victorian MP Geoff Shaw, who is currently en route to the US to study America's abortion laws, has been featured in an article on the US social news website BuzzFeed under the headline: "Australian politician compares abortion to killing snake eggs." 

On Thursday, the controversial balance-of-power MP told a news outlet that "in Australia we can't kill snake eggs but we are quite happy to kill an egg in the tummy and it should be the safest place for a baby to be."

The BuzzFeed story features several of the comical tweets that have been posted to #tummyeggs at the MP's expense, the hashtag still going strong a day after its conception.

"If your unfertilised eggs are in your tummy instead of your ovaries, you should see a doctor for that. Grim," Twitter user @VeganMilitia writes. 

Another Twitter user @AlysJ said: "It's cute that my 3yo thinks there's a baby in my tummy. That a grown man thinks this is terrifying."

Mr Shaw announced on Thursday that he would introduce a bill ahead of November's state election to amend Victoria's abortion law. 

The major changes he wants to put forward are to outlaw gender-selection abortions, to force doctors to resuscitate babies who survive the abortion process, and to repeal section 8 of the legislation, which requires doctors who object to abortions to refer their patient to doctors who don't.

A short time later, Mr Shaw made a comment comparing the treatment of snake eggs with a human "egg in the tummy".

Mr Shaw's media representative told The Age that what the MP was conveying in his comments is that more value is being placed on animal lives than human lives.

The MP left Melbourne on a taxpayer-subsidised flight to the US on Friday morning, where he will spend two weeks examining abortion laws in Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, New York and California.

In an interview on ABC Radio on Thursday, Mr Shaw was unable to provide any figures to support whether gender-selection abortion was an actual problem. 

He said there are more than 100,000 abortions in Australia per year, but "to get figures on what definitely happens, that's a bit difficult to get."

Interviewer Waleed Aly told Mr Shaw that research showed abortions had a roughly even gender split, and asked him again if he had evidence that there was a problem.

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"I'm not really here to answer your questions," Mr Shaw said in response. "You asked me to come to discuss what I'm doing, so that's what I'm doing."

- The Age

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