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Australia: Bill launched to protect babies born alive after failed abortion

An Australian MP has drafted a Bill which would make it a legal obligation to provide medical care for babies born alive following an abortion.

Currently in some Australian states, there is not a legal requirement to provide medical care to a baby that has been born alive following a failed abortion and they can be left to die.

In 2016, an ABC News report showed that 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.

The Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Act 2021, being advanced by George Christensen, MP for Dawson in Queensland Australia, states its purpose “to protect children born alive (including as a result of terminations), and for related purposes”.

Babies born alive and left to die

In the state of Victoria, of 310 late term abortions (after 20 weeks) 33 babies were born alive and subsequently died. These deaths were recorded as “neonatal deaths” rather than death by abortion.

In 2008, a UK report found that 66 infants were born alive after NHS terminations in one year. The majority of those 66 babies took over an hour to die. 

In the state of Victoria, scores of babies have been left to die after being removed alive during a number of ‘failed’ terminations, according to one official review

The review reported that in 2011 there were 40 ‘terminations of pregnancy’ after 20 weeks ‘resulting in live birth’. While these figures are comparable in scale, Victoria’s population of 5.5 million is just a tenth of Britain’s.

Between 2005 and 2015, 204 babies were born alive as a result of abortions in Queensland. 

Christensen has argued that this practice was in conflict with Australia’s international agreements. He said: “[W]e also have international obligations under the International Convention of the Rights of the Child, and in that international convention, which we have signed up to, it states in Article 6: that ‘State parties (which includes Australia) recognise that every child has the inherent right to life’”.

The Bill is currently being drafted and Mr Christensen is currently attempting to persuade the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, to allow this to go to a vote during this term.

“As soon as you’re born live, you are entitled to all of the same rights and privileges as any other Australian citizen.”

Christensen is not the first MP to call for an end to this practice. In 2018 in Western Australia, MP Nick Goiran, speaking of 27 babies born alive after abortions, said is was “statistically inconceivable” that none of the babies could have been saved and gone on to live a normal life.

He added: “As soon as you’re born alive, you are entitled to all of the same rights and privileges as any other Western 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”.

In 2008, a UK report found that 66 infants were born alive after NHS terminations in one year. The majority of those 66 babies took around an hour to die, with one surviving and breathing unaided for 10 hours.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “There is no defence of this cruelty. The fact that this legislation will surely be resisted though does reveal what abortion is all about. It is not about the right ‘not to be pregnant’. If that were the case then, following a abortion where the baby is born alive, care could be provided to the child. The very fact that medical care is not provided and that these children are left to die reveals that the whole purpose of the abortion is to end the life of the child, and not simply that the child’s mother not be pregnant”.

“Mr Christensen put it best when he said: ’Young babies are dying across this country and it needs to stop’”.

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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