A group of doctors has called on the prime minister to intervene and stop Victoria’s abortion legislation, saying it breaches human rights and an international treaty.

Victoria’s upper house MPs are set to begin debating the Abortion Law Reform Bill on Tuesday afternoon after it passed through the lower house unamended last month.

The bill will remove abortion from the Crimes Act, allowing women to legally have a termination up to 24 weeks.

Doctors in Conscience Against Abortion Bill says it has received legal advice that finds the bill is in conflict with Victoria’s Charter of Rights and Responsibilities and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The ICCPR is an international treaty to which Australia is a signatory.

The legal opinion by Neil Young, QC, found if the bill became law it would put the federal government in breach of its treaty obligation.

Group spokeswoman Dr Mary Lewis called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to intervene.

“The Australian government has an obligation to ensure Australia’s laws are consistent with the charter, and we call upon Mr Rudd to intervene with Victorian Premier John Brumby and insist that Victoria not proceed with this legislation,” Dr Lewis said.

“The bill is unprecedented in the western world, in imposing laws that would force doctors to act in violation of their conscientious beliefs by actively assisting patients to obtain an abortion.”

A key concern by many opposing the bill is the conscientious objection clause.

It allows any medical practitioner who opposes abortion to refuse to treat a woman who requests an abortion, but the patient must be referred to a practitioner who does not morally object to the procedure.

In his findings, Young said: “By requiring conscientious objectors to make a referral to a non-objecting practitioner, the clause requires objectors to act in a way that is inconsistent with their conscience, religion and belief.”

He said comparable legislation in the UK, New Zealand and other Australian states and territories contain a clear statement of the right of conscientious objection.

He said it would be a simple step for the bill to be amended in the upper house to recognise a general right of conscientious objection.

Professor Graeme Clark, who pioneered the bionic ear, said the bill breached the human rights of disabled people.

He believed there were already “far too many” abortions in Victoria and the bill would allow more disabled babies to be terminated.