16th October, 2012
Thousands of Victorians marched through Melbourne's CBD on Saturday. Why? Who needs their protection?
This month snapper commence their annual migration into Port Philip Bay. These fish are highly prized by recreational anglers and in accordance with sustainable fisheries priorities Fisheries Officers will enforce size limits to protect juvenile fish.
"Tragically, unborn babies in Victoria are not afforded the same protection as our undersized fish."
If you are caught taking or being in possession of an undersized snapper it will be returned to the water and you can expect an infringement notice. If your offending involves numerous undersized fish, they will be returned to the water and you can expect to be charged, face court and be fined or worse. Something in a previous life I was employed to ensure.
Tragically, unborn babies in Victoria are not afforded the same protection as our undersized fish.
In 2007, the then Premier John Brumby announced that Victoria's abortion laws were "out of step with community sentiment" and he commenced a process that lead to the liberalisation of abortion law.
The Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 now provides that abortion may be performed by a medical practitioner up to 24 weeks without reference to any criteria. Abortion after 24 weeks and up until the moment of birth, can be performed after confirmation by any two medical practitioners that the abortion is appropriate, having regard to all relevant medical circumstances and the women's current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances.
These provisions have created an environment of abortion on request. It is estimated, based on Medicare statistics, that approximately 20,000 abortions occur in Victoria each year.
The 2009 Annual Report of the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity (CCOPMM) released in June 2012 reveals that from a total of 410 post 20 week abortions, 210 were performed on babies without physical defects, including 10 undertaken after 28 weeks. Children at this stage of gestation are certainly capable of surviving outside the womb.
The 2010 report of CCOPMM revealed 345 late-term babies were killed in 2007 and that 54 of them were still alive after the abortion procedure.
This lead then MLC Peter Kavanagh to try to set up an investigation into the cases of the 54 babies who survived their abortion and were subsequently left to die. The questions he wanted answered related to what efforts were made to ensure those children had the best possible healthcare and opportunity to live. The motion was defeated. Mr Kavanagh was described in Parliament as "disgusting" for even raising the issue.
However, when the federal Parliamentary Group on Population and Development told a Senate Inquiry in 2008 that public funding of abortion was needed because the birth of babies with disabilities would be a burden on the budget, it is hard to expect much sympathy for the situation of the unborn in certain sections of our parliaments.
Fortunately for those who do not understand the importance and relevance of this issue a documentary will be released next month entitled "The Voice of John". This film will discuss the reality of babies born alive after abortions. In The Voice of John the humanity of the unborn will be made real -"one small voice will speak for millions."
"Public sentiment is moving away from abortion as the answer to unexpected and initially unwanted pregnancies or crisis pregnancies as they're called. Financial support, medical treatment, accommodation and care are now commonly being identified as better solutions."
Public sentiment is moving away from abortion as the answer to unexpected and initially unwanted pregnancies or crisis pregnancies as they're called. Financial support, medical treatment, accommodation and care are now commonly being identified as better solutions.
Fuller analysis of why women have abortions may uncover options that make provision for mother and child to co-exist and prosper.
In submissions to a Victorian Parliamentary review of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights in July 2011, the Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart and the bishops of Ballarat and Sale, argued that the Charter gave "inadequate protection for the right to life, including the right to life of the child before birth".
This deep concern of the church for the unborn was reflected again in a speech by Archbishop Dr Peter Jensen last week, when he said: "What sort of society is it that kills 100,000 children in the womb each year?"
The estimated 3,500 Victorians who marched through the Melbourne CBD on Saturday to marked the 4th anniversary of the introduction of the Abortion Law Reform Act called for a change of culture and legislation. They marched for numerous reasons, including compassion for the women whose children have been aborted; women who have been failed by society in the provision of practical and emotional assistance.
The march was a peaceful witness to life and a visual demonstration that Victoria's abortion laws are "out of step with community sentiment", that surely values the life of a child over a fish.
Dan Flynn is the Victorian state director of the Australian Christian Lobby. This article was first published on Online Opinion.