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PARLIAMENTARY PETITION FOR MORE PALLIATIVE CARE IN QUEENSLAND

Please sign our parliamentary petition 

The Queensland Government has promised an assisted suicide Bill in May, yes legislation that would effectively target the sick, disabled and elderly, and turn doctors from healers to killers. It's absolutely horrendous. In response Cherish Life has lodged the below parliamentary petition urging the government to dramatically increase palliative care funding in Queensland by a factor of 3.5 times, which is urgently needed to properly service our state, according to Palliative Care Queensland.

The petition also urges the government to send the "voluntary assisted dying" legislation, once it is received from from the Queensland Law Reform Commission in May, to a Parliamentary Committee for at least six months to allow for Queensland-wide community consultation. 

The pro-life Parliamentary e-petition is below, please click HERE to sign

Need for urgent increase to palliative care funding and for full and proper scrutiny of the "voluntary assisted dying" Bill by a Parliamentary Committee 

Queensland residents draws to the attention of the House:

 (a) the gross underfunding of palliative care in Queensland. Palliative Care Queensland has called on the Queensland Government to increase the annual palliative care budget by $275 million on top of the $110 million a year currently allocated. Disappointingly, the Government’s promised increase of $28.5 million a year is completely inadequate. A funding increase of $275 million a year equates to just over $1 per person a week - a small investment for every Queenslander to have access to a fundamental human right.

(b) the Government’s promise to introduce “voluntary assisted dying” (that is euthanasia or assisted suicide) legislation by the end of May 2021, without any assurance of full and proper scrutiny by a Parliamentary Committee. Queenslanders have the right to have detailed input on a Bill of this nature, including key stakeholders such as palliative care specialists, oncologists, the Australian Medical Association and faith leaders.

 Your petitioners, therefore, request the House to call on the Government to:

(a) urgently address Queensland's palliative care deficit, so dying patients and their families can have access to palliative care medical professionals who provide crucial and specialist end-of-life care, to which all Queenslanders are entitled.

(b) follow the usual Standing Orders when the "voluntary assisted dying" Bill is introduced to Parliament, by referring it to the relevant Parliamentary Committee for a period of at least six months to ensure the process is not rushed and to allow for proper Queensland-wide community consultation.

 

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DEVASTATING: QLD ABORTION RATE INCREASES BY 58% SINCE 2018 LAW CHANGE

Health Minister misleads Parliament by covering up abortion rate blowout.

The Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath misled Parliament in Question Time on Tuesday [10/3] by claiming that the number of abortions had not risen since the passing of the Termination of Pregnancy Act in 2018.

Using just figures for surgical abortions, Ms D’Ath told Parliament: “That shows that the passing of this legislation has not led to an increase in the number of terminations.” (page 420 of Hansard on 10 March)

But the fact is the total number of abortions in Queensland including “medical” abortions caused by prescribed drugs has increased by 58% between 2018 and 2019. (see proof below)

In addition, almost 60% of all medical abortions in Australia in 2019 (the first year after the law change) were performed in Queensland, which has only 20% of Australia’s population.

The passing of Labor's extreme abortion-to-birth laws in fact has led to an abortion blow-out. This is deeply distressing and needs urgent attention.

PROOF 

2018 - abortions in Queensland

9,297    Surgical abortions   proof - Question on Notice #685  from Dr Mark Robinson MP

7,446     Medical abortions    proof - 2018 PBS data on the abortion drug (item number 10211K*) obtained from Medicare, Queensland Health only records surgical abortions

2018 total: 16,743

2019 - abortions in Queensland 

9,496   Surgical abortions   proof - revealed on 10/3 in Parliament by Health Minister Yvette D'Ath (page 420)

17,087  Medical abortions   proof - 2019 PBS data on the abortion drug* obtained from Medicare, Queensland Health only records surgical abortions

2019 total: 26,583

* Ref: Item Number 10211K = MIFEPRISTONE (&) MISOPROSTOL abortion drug

Cherish Life has called upon the Opposition Leader, LNP MPs and KAP MPs to urgently hold the Labor Government to account on this most serious issue, as well as taking the Health Minister to task for misleading Parliament. 

The figures are so so so bad. Those poor little babies, and their neglected mothers. Our hearts break. It's hard to find words to explain the sorrow.

In some ways the abortion blowout is not surprising, as the Queensland Labor Government at every turn has effectively incentivised abortion over alternatives such as adoption. It even voted down an amendment to offer counselling to women considering abortion, and there are no informed consent laws for abortion in Queensland. 

It's also terrible that Queenslanders had to wait 15 months to get a full data-set for surgical abortion rates for 2019 from Queensland Health. No doubt the Government didn't want the alarming numbers coming out before the October 2020 election. 

Disappointingly, The Courier-Mail published this inaccurate report yesterday (11/3), based on the Health Minister’s misleading claim. We have asked for an urgent correction. 

FAKE NEWS - The Courier-Mail article published yesterday (pictured above) was inaccurate 

Despite the heart-break, attacks and set-backs, the fight for life must go on and increase in strength, as some of the worst opponents to life are in powerful places. Thank you for not giving up or tiring. If we don't keep fighting for the unborn, who will be their voice?

 

To donate to the fight for life

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Victoria's grim euthanasia warning: Suicide rates increase

Non-assisted suicide rates have increased by 14% in Victoria since that state legalised "voluntary assisted suicide" (VAD).

In 2017, before VAD, that is assisted suicide, legislation came into effect the number of suicides (non-assisted) in Victoria was 609 people. 

In 2020, when the legislation had been in effect the entire year, the number of non-assisted suicides in Victoria was 698 people - that's a 14%  increase non-assisted suicides from the 2017 figure. In the same year, 144 people committed assisted suicide using "voluntary assisted dying" where the doctor prescribes poison for the patient to take, and 31 received euthanasia where the doctor injects poison directly into the patient causing death. Adding all of these together versus the 2017 figure, that's a 43% overall increase in suicides (non-assisted plus assisted) since the law change.

The significant increase in the non-assisted suicide rate in Victoria proves that legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia of any kind has a contagion effect on the non-assisted suicide rate too. This is a critical warning for Queensland not to go into this dark territory, particularly as we already have the highest suicide rate in Australia. 

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'Wrong sex' babies aborted in Queensland under Labor's laws

Sex-selective abortions are being done in Queensland.

Yes, beautiful perfectly healthy babies are being aborted because they aren't the gender their parents wanted. It's repugnant, sickening and must stop. 

The Sunday Mail yesterday (7 March) broke the news that "Queensland parents are aborting babies that are not their preferred gender and then turning to IVF clinics believing their perfect boy or girl can be custom made."

Prior to Queensland's abortion law change in 2018, sex-selective abortion was illegal. When the Queensland Labor Government's extreme abortion Bill, the Termination of Pregnancy Bill, was before the Parliamentary Health Committee inquiry, we warned them (and the media) in no uncertain terms that sex-selective abortions would be one of the terrible consequences of this cruel and unbridled legalisation, begging them to reject it. They effectively called us liars, chose to ignore proof and data we and others provided, pushing through their laws with no amendments on 17 October, 2018. It was a dark day for Queensland. 

So what can be done now? We're calling on the Queensland Opposition Leader, Mr David Crisafulli to raise this issue in Parliament with a view to tabling legislation that would criminalise sex-selective abortion in Queensland.

It's encouraging that 83% of Queenslanders are opposed to sex-selective abortion (in our YouGov poll results, page 11, question 17) - it shows there are a lot of sane people left in Queensland!

 

To donate to the fight for life click here

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CHILDREN BORN ALIVE PROTECTION BILL - We need your help!

National legislation that if passed could save hundreds of babies’ lives over future years is here!

The Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Bill 2021, drafted by George Christensen, MP for Dawson, would give medical protection to babies born who survive an abortion. 

Tragically, babies born alive during abortions in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, the ACT and the NT are left to die.  

However, for this life-saving Bill to go to a vote this term of Federal Parliament is dependent on the Prime Minister’s approval. 

“I have provided the Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Act 2021 bill to the Prime Minister and other key ministers, seeking their support on adopting this bill, or allowing a conscience vote on it,” Mr Christensen said in a press release last week.

YOU CAN HELP! 

By calling or emailing Prime Minister Scott Morrison's office as soon as possible asking that he allows the Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Bill 2021 to go to a vote this term of Parliament.  

Contact details for the PM's office:  Email and / or Phone: (02) 6277 7700 

It would be very helpful if you also could contact your federal MP and state Senators if they are LNP, Liberal Party or National Party, and request them to ask the Prime Minister Scott Morrison to allow this to go to a vote during this term. 

This is OUR FIGHT, friends. We are doing everything we can to get this to go to a vote, then we will do everything we can to help the Bill to pass.Thank you for standing with us!

THE BILL EXPLAINED

The Bill states its purpose as "A Bill for an Act to protect children born alive (including as a result of terminations), and for related purposes". The legislation, if passed, would cover babies born alive in abortions throughout all Australian states and territories.

Mr Christensen points out that Australia by not giving medical care to babies born alive in abortions is in breach of two international agreements to which it is a signatory: The Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

“The bill makes it an offence not to provide life-saving treatment, punishable with penalties of [more] than $400,000 for health practitioners and higher for corporations," Mr Christensen said in a news release.

“It also could see health practitioners who breach the law deregistered in Australia. 

“I encourage others to lend their support for this action via my website www.georgechristensen.com.au/bornalive." (A draft of the Bill is contained in Mr Christensen's website, as well as at the base of this blog.)

Not only would the passing of such legislation be a national first and save many young lives over future years, but it also would mark an important turning of the tide where the pro-life community actually takes ground for the unborn, instead of fighting to hold what is left. 

But will this vote cause the Morrison government to lose relationship capital with voters? NO. In fact quite the opposite - it may wedge and expose Labor on this issue, as it has been Labor governments’ legislation around Australia that has left babies born alive in abortions to die. 

YouGov Galaxy polling in 2018 revealed that 70% of Queenslanders agree that babies born alive in late-term abortions should be given medical care, with only 10% opposed - please see polling HERE (question 8, page 6). 

Various media reports over the years have shown that more and more babies are surviving late-term abortions, only to die of neglect.

In Melbourne, The Age reported: "In 2007, 52 babies survived late-term abortions, according to government figures. In some clinics they had simply been put on a shelf and left to die, and the public deserved to know what was happening now."

In one incident in the NT in 1998, a child of 22 weeks' gestation, Jessica Jane, who was born alive weighing 515 g after a botched late-term abortion, with “good vital signs”, was left in a dish to die and was heard crying for 80 minutes until she died.

In 2016, ABC News stated: "Queensland Health confirmed that in such cases, life-saving care is not rendered to the baby after a decision to terminate is made and it is left to perish in the clinic."

In 2018 in Western Australia, Liberal MP Nick Goiran, speaking of 27 babies born alive and left to die, said: “It is statistically inconceivable that not one of the babies could have been saved and gone on to live a normal life.”

He added: "As soon as you're born live, you are entitled to all of the same rights and privileges as any other Australian citizen.

"The fact that the abortion resulted in a live birth doesn't mean that you have less rights and privileges [than] any other prematurely born baby.

"That's just a statement of law and that law needs to be adhered to."

In fact, there are several well-documented cases of born-alive abortion survivors, such as Gianna Jessen, who gave a speech in Victoria's Parliamenton her experience, in 2008.

Gianna's mother had a saline abortion when she was 7 months pregnant. Instead of being poisoned and burned by the toxic solution, Gianna survived and was rushed to the hospital. Being deprived of oxygen during the abortion procedure, Gianna has suffered all her life from cerebral palsy, but has overcome her injuries, becoming an experienced public speaker and internationally renowned pro-life advocate. She declares: “Death did not prevail over me… and I am so thankful!”

We are working on a national campaign to help push this legislation through, saving babies like Gianna. Please contact PM ScoMo asking him to let it go to a vote, as well as your federal MP if they are LNP, Liberal or National as well as Senators from those parties for your state, encouraging them to ask Scott Morrison to ensure this bill is voted on in a timely manner, this term. Let us brook no more delay for the unborn.

We need to stand up now for our most vulnerable fellow citizens, and ensure their right to basic medical care is enshrined in law. All Australians should be treated equally by healthcare professionals, whether they are wanted by their family or not.

Statistics:

Queensland

Year                       Terminations with live birth outcome (babies born alive after late-term abortions) 

2005

8

2006

16

2007

20

2008

15

2009

13

2010

17

2011

20

2012

20

2013

23

2014

25

2015

27

2016

31

2017

35

2018

29

3 Dec 2018 - 30 June 2019

19

Data sources: 

2005- 2015 figures ABC report 'Rise in Queensland babies surviving late-term abortions'

2016, 2017 & 2018

3 December 2018 - 30 June 2019 figures: Dr Mark Robinson, MP, Parliamentary Question on Notice, 685, 14 July 2020

Western Australia

Perinatal deaths following live births from late-term abortions

1998 to June 2017

27

Victoria

Years       Perinatal deaths following live births from late-term abortions 

2001

35

2002

30

2003

41

2004

35

2005

45

2006

42

2007

52

2008

32

2009

42

2010

24

2011

40

2012

53

2013

43

2016

33

2017

28

2018

29

Data source: Victorian Perinatal Morbidity data 

Records are not kept in other states and territories which leave babies born alive in abortions to die.

Only NSW since late 2019 and South Australia, from last week, require that medical care be given to babies born alive during abortions.

Interestingly the Queensland Liberal National Party already have providing care to babies born alive in abortions 20 weeks and older as part of their policy platform. Specifically, that comfort care or palliative care (including pain relief) be given to these babies that are dying and unable to kept alive, and life-sustaining care - the same as any other premature baby - for babies who are compatible with life. 

Mr George Christensen, MP, speaking at the Cherish Life 50th anniversary dinner in November 2020 where he first shared his plans for this exciting life-saving Bill with us! We love George, because he fights for life!

THE HUMAN RIGHTS (CHILDREN BORN ALIVE PROTECTION) BILL 2021 - draft

2019‑2020‑2021

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

Presented and read a first time

 

Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Bill 2021

 

No.      , 2021

 

(Mr Christensen)

 

A Bill for an Act to protect children born alive (including as a result of terminations), and for related purposes

 

Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                             1

^1.......... Short title............................................................................................ 1

^2.......... Commencement.................................................................................. 2

^3.......... Definitions.......................................................................................... 2

^4.......... Binding the Crown............................................................................. 3

^5.......... Extension to external Territories........................................................ 4

^6.......... Concurrent operation of State and Territory laws.............................. 4

^7.......... Constitutional basis of this Act.......................................................... 4

Part 2—Children born alive are persons                                                                5

^8.......... Children born alive are persons.......................................................... 5

Part 3—Duty of health practitioners                                                                         6

^9.......... Duty of health practitioners to provide medical care or treatment to children born alive as a result of terminations........................................................................................ 6

^10........ Offence of contravening duty to provide medical care or treatment to children born alive    6

^11........ Mother of child born alive not liable to prosecution.......................... 7

^12........ Additional operation of this Part........................................................ 7

 

A Bill for an Act to protect children born alive (including as a result of terminations), and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1—Preliminary

  

^1  Short title

                   This Act is the Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Act 2021.

^2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provisions

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  The whole of this Act

The day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

             (2)  Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this Act.

^3  Definitions

                   In this Act:

born alive includes born alive as a result of a termination.

Convention on the Rights of the Child means the Convention on the Rights of the Child done at New York on 20 November 1989, as in force for Australia from time to time.

Note:          The Convention on the Rights of the Child is in Australian Treaty Series 1991 No. 4 ([1991] ATS 4) and could in 2021 be viewed in the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (http://www.austlii.edu.au).

engage in conduct means:

                     (a)  do an act; or

                     (b)  omit to perform an act.

health practitioner means a person who, under a law of a State or Territory, is registered or licensed to practice in any of the following health professions (or a recognised specialty in any of the following health professions):

                     (a)  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice;

                     (b)  medical;

                     (c)  nursing.

health practitioner registration board means a person or body who, under a law of a State or Territory, registers or licenses persons to practice in a health profession (or in a recognised specialty in a health profession).

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights means the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights done at New York on 16 December 1966, as in force for Australia from time to time.

Note:          The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is in Australian Treaty Series 1980 No. 23 ([1980] ATS 23) and could in 2021 be viewed in the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (http://www.austlii.edu.au).

professional standards or guidelines includes:

                     (a)  an approved registration standard (within the meaning of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law), or code or guidelines approved by a National Board (within the meaning of that Law); and

                     (b)  clinical guidelines issued by a State or Territory.

termination means an intentional termination of a pregnancy in any way, including by:

                     (a)  administering a drug or other substance, or

                     (b)  using an instrument or other thing.

^4  Binding the Crown

                   This Act binds the Crown in each of its capacities.

^5  Extension to external Territories

                   This Act extends to the external Territories.

^6  Concurrent operation of State and Territory laws

                   This Act is not intended to exclude or limit the operation of a law of a State or Territory that:

                     (a)  protects:

                              (i)  children born alive as a result of terminations; or

                             (ii)  all children born alive; and

                     (b)  is capable of operating concurrently with this Act.

^7  Constitutional basis of this Act

                   This Act gives effect to Australia’s international obligations under:

                     (a)  the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and in particular Articles 6 and 24; and

                     (b)  the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in particular Articles 24 and 26.

Part 2—Children born alive are persons

  

^8  Children born alive are persons

                   To avoid doubt, for the purposes of the law of the Commonwealth, a child born alive is a person.

Part 3—Duty of health practitioners

  

^9  Duty of health practitioners to provide medical care or treatment to children born alive as a result of terminations

             (1)  The duty owed by a health practitioner to provide medical care or treatment to a child born alive as a result of a termination is no different than the duty (including a duty under the law of a State or Territory or the general law) owed to provide medical care or treatment to a child born alive other than as a result of a termination.

Health practitioner registration board must deal with contraventions of duty to provide medical care or treatment to children born alive as a result of terminations

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), if a health practitioner engages in conduct that contravenes the duty owed to provide medical care or treatment to a child born alive as a result of a termination, a health practitioner registration board must treat the conduct in the same way as the board would have treated the conduct had the live birth not been the result of a termination.

Professional standards or guidelines

             (3)  This section has effect despite anything to the contrary in professional standards or guidelines that apply to health practitioners.

^10  Offence of contravening duty to provide medical care or treatment to children born alive

Offence

                   A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person is a health practitioner; and

                     (b)  a child is born alive; and

                     (c)  the health practitioner owes a duty to provide medical care or treatment to the child; and

                     (d)  the health practitioner engages in conduct; and

                     (e)  the health practitioner’s conduct contravenes that duty.

Note:          This section applies whether or not the live birth results from a termination.

Penalty:  2,000 penalty units.

^11  Mother of child born alive not liable to prosecution

                   Neither:

                     (a)  section ^10 of this Act; nor

                     (b)  Division 11 of the Criminal Code, to the extent it relates to section ^10 of this Act;

make the mother of a child born alive liable to be prosecuted for an offence in respect of that child.

^12  Additional operation of this Part

             (1)  In addition to section ^7, this Part also has effect as provided by this section.

             (2)  This Part also has the effect it would have if a reference to medical care or treatment were expressly confined to medical care or treatment undertaken by or on behalf of a corporation to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution applies.

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CALLING-OUT EXTREME PRO-ABORTION BIAS IN MEDIA

THE GUARDIAN’S MISTRUTHS & MISREPORTING

On 16 October 2020, The Guardian Australia ran an article stating:

Cherish Life’s election information erroneously claims the law allows pregnancies to be terminated “for any reason” until 37 weeks, and that the law legalises sex-selective abortions.

The Queensland-based deputy medical director of Marie Stopes Australia, Dr Catriona Melville, said Cherish Life’s claims were “disinformation” and “scaremongering”.

“It’s absolutely not correct that abortions are occurring during late term for no reason. Women don’t seek abortion for no reason,” Melville said.

“After 22 weeks you need approval and assessment by two doctors, but that is exceptionally, exceptionally rare.

 “Sex selection abortions are not legal, nobody does that…”

Cherish Life response:
It is not surprising that an abortionist like Dr Catriona Melville is attacking and misrepresenting Cherish Life by using a straw man fallacy. Why would those who do not respect human life have respect for the truth?

Cherish Life has never said anywhere that “women seek abortion for no reason”. Obviously, in each case there is definitely a reason, be it physical, psychological or social – which three categories cover all reasons. Therefore, we have stated truly that under Queensland Labor’s extreme law, abortions can be performed up to birth (because there is no time limit in the Act) for any reason.

The fact is that Labor’s Termination of Pregnancy Act (2018) includes a provision – section 6(2)(b) – for legal abortions from 22 weeks gestation up to birth (there being no upper limit in the legislation) based on broad criteria including “social circumstances”.

Therefore, as we told The Guardian and they conveniently omitted from their article: “Labor has legalised abortion up to birth for any reason, because there are no reasons outside ‘current and future physical, psychological or social circumstances’, which is what Labor’s extreme law provides.”

Another comment to The Guardian, which they did not include, was that “examples of ‘social’ reasons include relationship breakdown and financial stress, according to the Queensland Law Reform Commission's briefing paper accompanying the Termination of Pregnancy Bill”.

Regarding Dr Melville’s claim that late-term abortions are “exceptionally, exceptionally rare”, the truth is that while late-term abortions after 20 weeks comprise less than 2% of all terminations, they most certainly do occur. The official Victorian Government figures cited below show that hundreds of late-term abortions occur in that state each year, and given Queensland now has effectively an identical abortion law, the same can be expected to occur here, but out of sight because of government secrecy.

As for Dr Melville’s assertion that “sex selection abortions are not legal”, that is a bare-faced lie. We challenge anyone to show us where Labor’s Termination of Pregnancy Act (2018) bans sex selection abortions.

What was reported in The Guardian was this comment: “If a woman wanted a sex-selective abortion past 22 weeks gestation, it could be easily obtained under the very loose parameters for abortion from 22 weeks up to birth.”  

But we said in our statement to The Guardian, which they conveniently omitted from their article:

"Sex-selective abortion is implicitly legal under the Termination of Pregnancy Act, as abortion is available on request (no questions asked) up to 22 weeks gestation and most women find out the gender of their child from 16 to 20 weeks gestation… There is incontrovertible evidence that sex selective abortions occur in Australia and under Labor’s law this is entirely legal. There is incontrovertible evidence that sex selective abortions occur in Australia, and under Labor’s law this is entirely legal.”

For Dr Melville to say that “nobody does that” is another outright lie.

For Dr Melville to say that “nobody does that” is another outright lie.

Globally, sex-selective abortion and infanticide of female babies are at catastrophic levels, with United Nations estimates of more than 100 million girls missing around the world.

Evidence that sex-selective abortions do occur in Australia was provided by a demographic study using ABS data from 2003 to 2013 showing “1,395 missing girls”, which was reported by SBS and Daily Mail Australia in 2015. Also, on 12 August 2018 The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age carried a story titled “The ‘missing girls’ never born in Australia”.

Furthermore, in 2013, Dr Mark Hobart, a Melbourne GP, faced disciplinary action for refusing to refer a couple with a 19-week unborn baby girl for a sex-selective abortion in Victoria.

The Guardian further stated:

“The right wing lobby group’s claim that Labor had legalised abortion to birth for any reason was based on their interpretation of the criteria for obtaining a termination after 22 weeks, which they considered ‘loose’ because it included ‘social reasons’.” 

Cherish Life response:

What The Guardian did not include in its article was our statement further explaining the Labor law’s loose criteria: “The façade in the law requiring the approval of two doctors for abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy. There is no requirement for the second doctor to see the patient or even look at her file. There is no requirement for independence of the second approving doctor - both doctors could be abortionists or partners in the same medical practice. And if no second opinion is sought, there is no legal penalty. A law without a penalty is no law at all.”

The Guardian also stated: “Brisbane obstetrician Carol Portmann… told Buzzfeed that the idea a doctor would support a termination for psychosocial reasons or sex selection in the latter stages of pregnancy was a “ludicrous fallacy”.

Cherish Life response: Then why does Labor’s extreme abortion law specifically allow abortion from 22 weeks to birth for “social” reasons?

And why did in the 2018 debate in Parliament on their extreme abortion Bill did Labor MPs defeat an amendment seeking to remove “social circumstances” from the allowable reasons for late-term abortions?

And why if late-term abortions for psycho-social reasons are a “ludicrous fallacy”, have 1,590 late-term abortions been performed for psycho-social reasons in Victoria (according to official government figures) over the 10 years from 2009 to 2018 since Victoria introduced the same law in 2008 as Queensland did in 2018? This is 46% of all late-term abortions in Victoria over that period. Almost half of all late-term abortions in Victoria in the last decade have been abortions of healthy babies of healthy mothers. (N.B. 2018 is the latest year for which figures are available.)

The Queensland Termination of Pregnancy Act (2018) is modelled on the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 which resulted in a 53% average annual increase in late-term abortions in Victoria over 10 years since the law was changed in 2008, compared with the 9 years beforehand.

In 2015, Real Choices Australia reported: “Most of the general public continue to believe that late-term abortions are only undertaken when women are seriously ill and their lives are threatened, or when their babies have no hope of survival and will die a more horrific death if allowed to come to term. Neither of these is true.

“Most remain ignorant of the reality that women continue to be offered surgical solutions to their economic, social, relational, and mental health problems rather than positive solutions to address their circumstances, even when they are at a stage of pregnancy when their babies could be safely delivered alive.”

In 2009 in Victoria, four healthy unborn children of healthy mothers were aborted at 37 plus weeks gestation, or full term, for “psycho-social” reasons. In the same year in Victoria, 14 healthy babies of healthy mothers between 28 and 31 weeks gestation also were aborted, along with four healthy babies of healthy mothers between 32 and 36 weeks gestation. These are all viable babies who could have survived outside the womb, who were killed for social reasons, as were many of the 209 healthy babies of healthy mothers who were aborted in Victoria in the same year between 20 and 27 weeks gestation - refer to 2009 Table 97 below.

In 2011 in Victoria, a healthy unborn child of a healthy mother was aborted at 37 plus weeks gestation, or full term, for “psycho-social” reasons. In the same year in Victoria, 10 healthy babies of healthy mothers between 28 and 31 weeks gestation also were aborted. Again, these were all viable babies who could have survived outside the womb, who were killed for social reasons, as were many of the 172 healthy babies of healthy mothers who were aborted in Victoria in the same year between 20 and 27 weeks gestation - refer to 2011 Table 6.21b below.

These crimes against humanity occurred under exactly the same law as now applies in Queensland, albeit the “time limit” is 22 weeks in Queensland compared to 24 weeks in Victoria, which does not matter at all because as we can see from the above figures many doctors have no qualms whatsoever about performing late-term abortions on viable babies for social reasons. 

The Guardian needs to engage seriously with the true nature of Labor’s extreme abortion law, not hide it by publishing propaganda from abortionists who have a vested interest in protecting their income. It almost seems like The Guardian is protecting both Labor and the abortion industry. 

We look forward to The Guardian correcting the public record by giving Cherish Life “a fair opportunity to reply”.

 See https://www.realchoices.org.au/research/abortion/late-term-abortion-statistics/vic/ for table from 2000 to 2017 and links to Victorian Government reports up to 2015.

Also the recently released 2018 figures are in Table 5.19 in Supplementary table – perinatal at https://www.bettersafercare.vic.gov.au/reports-and-publications/victorias-mothers-babies-and-children-2018-report

And the links for the 2016 and 2017 government reports are below.

https://www.bettersafercare.vic.gov.au/reports-and-publications/victorias-mothers-babies-and-children-report-2017

https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/about/publications/researchandreports/mothers-babies-and-children-2016

 

Source: Victorian Perinatal and Morbidity Statistics (as summarised by www.realchoices.org.au)

 

 

2010-2011: Victoria’s Mothers, Babies and Children Annual Report 2010 2011, p. 162

 

 

 

Table 97: Perinatal deaths, Victoria 2009, by PSANZ PDC and gestational ages

2009: Victoria’s Mothers, Babies and Children Annual Report 2009 , p. 112

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MORE BABIES WOULD DIE UNDER ANOTHER LABOR GOVERNMENT & HERE'S WHY

1. The Queensland Labor Government has legalised abortion up to birth for any reason. All restraint from abortion has been removed in Queensland.

The Termination of Pregnancy Act has no effective gestational limit on terminations. It legalised abortion up to birth in Queensland, effectively for any reason.

The first part of the legalisation legalised abortion upon request (no questions asked) up to 22 weeks. In doing so it sanctioned the destruction of fully formed little humans on the brink of viability. In fact, some premature babies overseas have survived at 22 weeks gestation with high care.

Then from 22 weeks gestation until birth abortion is legal (refer to section 6 of the Act), under expanded and loose criteria including "current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances"*, with the approval of two doctors. However there is no requirement for the second doctor to see the patient or even look at her file, the approval could merely be an email or phone call. If no second opinion is sought, there is no legal penalty. There is no requirement for independence of the second approving doctor - both doctors could be abortionists for example.

 *"physical, psychological and social circumstances" is notably loose criteria for obtaining an abortion from 22 weeks up until birth. The Queensland Law Commission briefing paper accompanying the Termination of Pregnancy Bill explained that "social circumstances" also includes relationship breakdown or economic troubles. So physical, psychological, social, economic and relational circumstances essentially covers every part of human life. So the Queensland Labor government has legalised abortion up to birth for any reason.

Before the law changed in 2018, abortions was were legal in Queensland up to about 20 weeks gestation if there was a serious risk to a woman's physical or psychological health, abortions could be obtained passed that time for fatal abnormalities or if the mother's health was in serious risk.

 

2. Victoria's law change has lead to an almost 50% annual average increase in late-term abortions.

The Queensland Act is modelled on the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act 2018 which has resulted in a 48% increase in late-term abortions in Victoria over 10 years (please see below table) since the law was changed in 2008, compared with the 9 years beforehand. Furthermore, almost half of late-term abortions in Victoria over recent years have been for "psycho-social" reasons. These are the abortions of healthy babies of healthy mothers.

Source: Real Choices Australia 

 

LATE-TERM HEALTHY BABIES OF HEALTHY MOTHERS  BEING ABORTED IN VICTORIA


2011 in Victoria, a healthy baby of a healthy mother was aborted for “psycho-social” reasons at over 37 weeks gestation – this is regarded as a full-term baby (refer p162).

In that same year, 10 healthy viable babies of healthy mothers between 28 and 31 weeks gestation also were aborted for “psycho-social” reasons in Victoria.

GESTATIONAL AGES OF LATE-TERM ABORTED HEALTHY BABIES TO HEALTHY MOTHERS

Gestational ranges of perinatal deaths (VICTORIA)  from 2009-2015 for maternal

psycho-social indications only - non-medical reasons, healthy babies to healthy mothers

Year

20-27 weeks 

28-31 weeks 

32-36 weeks 

37+ weeks 

2015    

107

0

0

0

2014

146

0

1

0

2013

179

0

0

0

2012

132

0

0

0

2011

172

10

0

1

2010

184

7

0

0

2009

203

11

0

0

From Victorian Maternal, Perinatal, Child and Adolescent Mortality statistics, The Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity

Please note that none of these babies were anesthetised, as this was one of the amendments voted down when the Victorian Abortion Reform Act was passed in 2008.

 

3. Queensland conservative parties have locked in against Labor's abortions laws.

The LNP, Katter's Australian Party & One Nation Party have ALL committed to review Labor's extreme abortion laws with a view to rolling them back (to varying degrees). Effective roll backs / amendments would result in less abortions. A summary table of these three parties position on abortion going into the election is below. And more detailed proofs can be found here LNP, KAP, ONP.

 

 

 

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Bishops speak for LIFE ahead of Queensland state election

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, it seems. On Monday 7 September, for the first time ever Queensland’s Catholic Bishops, led by the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, held a press conference to make an announcement about the upcoming Queensland state election. 

The announcement titled “A Statement by the Catholic Bishops of Queensland for the 2020 State Election” was made at the official launch of “THE COMMON GOOD IN A COVID WORLD”.

The invitation-only event at St Stephen's Cathedral, Brisbane was attended by politicians, journalists and Catholic dignitaries. The Opposition Leader, Deb Frecklington, was there sitting front and centre, and nine other LNP MPs were in attendance. Labor had fewer than half that number there, with the Government represented by Sandgate MP Stirling Hinchcliffe, Minister for Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs. All three Katter's Australian Party state MPs were present.

Archbishop Coleridge with Opposition Leader Mrs Deb Frecklington - the future Premier of Queensland perhaps?

While some may wonder about the influence that statements from Catholic leadership may have on the Queensland election, it is of high significance. The 2016 census revealed that 56% of Queenslanders identified as Christian (of some denomination), which included over one in five Queenslanders being Catholic - the single biggest faith tradition in Queensland. This was the census when the Atheist Foundation ran a large national "No Religion" campaign, which led to the Australian Bureau of Statistics placing this choice as the first option and had the effect of many nominal believers from all faiths choosing "no religion" instead of the religion in which their parents had christened them. So it's safe to assume that the almost 22% of Queenslanders who identify as Catholic actually pay close attention to what their bishops say. 

The prayers and statements made by Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Bishop for Cairns Tim Harris and Bishop for Toowoomba Robert McGuckin largely centred around Queensland recovering well from the scourge of COVID. The Archbishop made a point of saying they were not telling people how to vote, and he was non-partisan in his approach. A range of predominantly social issues was covered, including the beginning and end of life. Encouragingly, a booklet which was given to all in attendance, and can downloaded here, contained a very strong warning against euthanasia and a call for more palliative care services. It stated:

"To recognise human dignity is to value the lives of all people, including those at the beginning and the end of life. Euthanasia and assisted suicide puts some of the most vulnerable people in our community at risk by endorsing – even in law – the judgement that some people’s lives are no longer of value. The State Government needs to provide better funding and resourcing for palliative care so that all Queenslanders have access, not just the few. Access to palliative care for older Queenslanders receiving aged care, especially in regional and rural settings, is a critical area of need. This urgent need is highlighted at a time when there is pressure to legislate for euthanasia in the State Parliament. There is a dark irony in this at a time when the shadow of death looms over us at this particular time of crisis and the Government’s target of halving suicide rates in Queensland by 2026. Governments must also provide for sustainable aged care services, continue to improve the quality regulatory framework in aged care and provide older people and their families with choice and control over the services they receive."

The booklet also contained a shorter statement on abortion, it read:

"We recognise the human dignity of unborn children and the great challenge many women face when confronted with an unexpected or difficult pregnancy. How can our community support women and their families in creating a more supportive and child-friendly community? What factors are causing women to take the agonising decision of abortion?"

This statement uncovered the cruel truth that many women who abort their babies do so because they feel that's their only choice. Abortion coercion is tragically common in Queensland, as is women feeling scared, isolated or without enough support including finances to give birth to their child. There are lot of unwanted abortions. This critical error of omission in legislation and policy is an aspect that must be urgently addressed if Labor is ousted from government and we have the opportunity make real change for unborn babies and pregnant women.

EXCLUSIVE: THE ARCHBISHOP ON THE BID TO ROLL BACK QUEENSLAND'S  ABORTION LAWS

At the conclusion of the formalities, Cherish Life Queensland executive director Teeshan Johnson was kindly granted a one-on-one interview with Archbishop Coleridge, and used the time to address the election issue of rolling back Queensland Labor’s abortion-to-birth laws. 

The Archbishop being interviewed by Teeshan from Cherish Life.

In response to a question regarding the Archbishop’s views on the LNP, KAP and One Nation all committing to review Queensland Labor's abortion-to-birth laws, Archbishop Coleridge said: “My thoughts were made very clear when the debate on abortion was going in the state [Queensland], and the church’s position is unequivocal on it. I think the legislation that was passed was seriously mistaken. I’ve made no secret in that. Therefore I would support legislative change.”

Asked about whether Catholic voters should consider the need to roll back these extreme abortion laws when voting, Archbishop Coleridge said abortion is a "very important" factor that needs to be considered by voters, and added: "The issues of life and death are unusually fundamental." 

When asked whether abortion should be the number 1 voting issue for people of faith this election, the Archbishop said the recovery from the pandemic was the overarching issue this election, but added this "doesn't in anyway undermine the importance of abortion... To build a genuinely human world means to respect life and all its aspects."

 

Archbishop Coleridge was understandably furious when the abortion Bill passed and he didn't hold back on Twitter.

Our additional thoughts: Politically speaking there is a lot riding on this election for the Catholic community. Catholic Health Australia, after the Queensland Government, is the largest provider of health services including hospitals, palliative care services and aged care homes in the state. Similarly Catholic Education is the largest provider of schools in Queensland after the State Government. Both Catholic Health Australia and Catholic Education receive considerable federal and state government funding as well as private funding. Meanwhile, The Greens party, which is contending for the balance of power this election (through supporting a minority Labor Government in a hung Parliament), is on a warpath to create a secular (and socialist) Australia. This includes a radical plan by Queensland Greens to "nationalise" - that is, make public - all Catholic and private hospitals and then force all hospitals to provide "free abortions", as well as cutting government funding to Catholic and private schools.

Cherish Life Queensland is grateful to the Catholic bishops for breaking with tradition and speaking before such a critical election for life.

We say, thank you.

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A National first: 'Right to Life' Policy released by One Nation Party

Big news: Pauline Hansen's One Nation Party (ONP) Queensland chapter released a RIGHT TO LIFE policy on Friday 14 August.

It is unprecedented in Australia for any political party to issue such a detailed "Right to Life" policy.

The policy states:

"Right to Life Policy: Pauline Hanson’s One Nation acknowledges the scientific fact that a human being’s life begins in the womb. We were horrified when Labor passed the Termination of Pregnancy Act (2018) in Queensland, which legalised abortion up until birth for any reason. This law is one of the most extreme in the western world. One Nation will seek every opportunity to roll back Queensland Labor’s brutal and extreme abortion law, so both unborn babies and pregnant women will have a level of legal and medical protection in Queensland once again.

One Nation will:

  1. Reduce the gestational limit for abortions- Current legislation allows the abortion of an unborn child up until the day of birth.
  2. Ban sex-selective abortion- Sex-selective abortion is the practice of terminating a pregnancy based upon the predicted sex of a child. The selective abortion of female foetuses is most common where male children are valued over females.
  3. Implement counselling and other safeguards- Women who may be considering an abortion must be provided counselling and compassionate assistance.
  4. Medical care for babies born alive during an abortion- Neonatal care must be provided to babies born alive during an abortion, as would be given to any other child born at the same stage of pregnancy and in the same medical condition.
  5. Anaesthetised abortion- There is no requirement to give an unborn baby pain relief prior to an abortion. Growing evidence suggests that unborn babies can feel pain from 16 weeks gestation.
  6. Restore Doctor’s Rights- Reinstitute a medical professionals full right to a conscientious objection to abortion referral.
  7. Ban organ harvesting- Prevent the use of aborted baby organs.
  8. Improve data reporting- Ensure data provided is complete, consistent, and undergoes regular validation to ensure adequate funding is provided for counselling and other safeguards."

Their Right to Life policy can be found here and it's also pictured below.

While Cherish Life is opposed to all abortion*, we welcome ONP's Right to Life policy as an encouraging movement in the right direction, away from Labor's cruel abortion up-to-birth laws.

* Cherish Life's position on abortion

Cherish Life is opposed to any destructive procedure to end an unborn human being's life, and therefore is opposed to all abortion. In the rare event a pregnancy must be ended early to save the mother's life, this is not deemed an abortion, but rather a life-saving intervention. Examples include the removal of an ectopic pregnancy which can be fatal if left unattended, and where a woman is suffering from potentially fatal pre-eclampsia, delivering the baby prematurely to save the woman's life.

If implemented the ONP policy would restore some much-needed legal protection and dignity to unborn babies, as well as providing practical supports and safeguards for women considering abortion, it also has the potential to save thousands of lives, particularly if the gestational cut-off for abortions is in the first trimester (up to 12 weeks) when most abortions occur in Queensland.

ONP's pro-life position (in comparison to pro-abortion Labor) is also likely to help them pick up another two to three seats at the 31 October election. Western Brisbane and central and North Queensland are particularly sensitive to the issue of late-term abortion previous polling and election campaigns have shown.

With the LNP, KAP and ONP now all committed to review or roll back Labor's Termination of Pregnancy Act (2018), abortion is clearly an election issue. Having commitments to fight for unborn life, to varying degrees, from mainstream parties with sitting members is an Australian first. There's a lot to be thankful for, and to fight for this election. We are close to getting our state's extreme abortion laws rolled back, and it's important we fight all the way until every vote is cast (as Labor / Greens will). Whoever you vote for, on the ballet paper - to vote for life - please put PUT LABOR LAST and GREENS SECOND LAST.

To contribute to the Cherish Life election campaign

See here how your MP voted on the abortion up to birth laws here

Only 1 Labor MP voted against the abortion laws (and they have now left parliament), and only 3 LNP MPs voted FOR the laws, 36 LNP MPs voted against the laws. The 3 KAP MPs voted against the laws and the 1 ONP MP voted against the Laws. The Greens MP and the independent MP for Noosa both voted for the laws.

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