Australia: Amendments banning sex-selective abortion in NSW likely to be opposed

New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian

MPs in New South Wales, Australia want to ensure a new abortion Bill does not permit abortion on the grounds of the sex of the baby and provides medical care to a baby born alive after an abortion. However, the amendments are likely to be opposed by a majority of MPs.

As an extreme abortion Bill in NSW makes its way through the upper house of the Parliament a number of MPs are attempting to add amendments to soften the Bill which permits abortion up to 22 weeks without any restrictions and abortion up to birth with the consent of two doctors. This radical legislation would also make abortion legal for any reason including sex-selective abortion and abortions based on disability.

Ten Liberal, Labor and crossbench MPs intend to amend this Bill next week so that it explicitly bans abortion on the basis of sex, requires medical care for a baby born alive after a failed abortion and ensures that it remains a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion.

The MPs also want to ensure there are strict requirements to have an abortion after 20 weeks gestation. The Bill as it is currently written and supported by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, only requires the approval of two doctors for an abortion to be performed after 22 weeks up to birth.

The amendments also contain a proposal for a maximum of seven years jail for health practitioners who fail to adhere to the requirements of the Bill.

The group announced the proposed amendments earlier this week.

According to The Australian, of the 42 MPs in the state’s upper house the majority are thought to be opposed to making any amendments to the legislation.

The Bill has been delayed several times and been heavily criticised for its lack of protections against the possibility of coerced abortions as well as the fact that there is no requirement for counselling. Additionally, there is only limited protection for the rights of doctors who recognise that abortion is not healthcare.

Opponents of this Bill are concerned about its extreme abortion limit. The Bill does not place any limitations on abortions before 22 weeks despite the fact that babies born can be born before this time and are known to have survived and gone on to flourish.

At the same time, in England and Wales, babies in the womb undergoing spinal surgery at 20-24 weeks gestation are given painkillers (although babies being aborted at the same gestation are not).

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“The NSW Abortion Bill is appalling however you look at it. This Bill is not concerned with rare cases where it might be necessary to end a pregnancy prematurely when there is a real danger to the mother’s life. This Bill places no restrictions at all on abortion up to 22 weeks and will, in practice, allow for abortion for any reason up to birth, providing two doctors in the state are willing to approve the abortion”

“Abortion on the grounds of sex overwhelmingly targets girls, to the extent that there are millions of ‘missing’ women and girls in India alone – in large part as a result of sex-selective abortion.”

“It is incredible that an amendment banning abortion on the grounds of sex is likely to be opposed by a number of MPs in the NSW Parliament, and is revealing about just how radical, barbaric and out of touch at least some of these pro-abortion MPs are.”

British MP: Do not consult the people of Northern Ireland on their own abortion law

A British MP is seeking assurances from the Government in Westminster that the people of Northern Ireland will have no say in the implementation of a new extreme abortion law in Northern Ireland.

Labour MP Stella Creasy, in a debate on Monday evening about the new extreme abortion law set to be imposed on Northern Ireland, sought a guarantee from the Government that in implementing this abortion legislation, the people of Northern Ireland would not be consulted at all.

She asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland:

“Can [you] confirm whether there is going to be public involvement in that consultation? It is really important for this House to be clear that, just as we would not ask non-medical professionals to consult on how to conduct a vasectomy, we should not do so when it comes to an abortion.”

In July, Stella Creasy put forward the original amendment which sought to introduce abortion into Northern Ireland. The extreme abortion amendment was made known on 4th of July, and it was selected by the Speaker only 37 minutes before the debate began on the 9th of July.

It was subsequently voted through later that afternoon, without the support of a single MP from Northern Ireland who sits in Parliament. As it now stands, the law will permit abortion up until 28 weeks gestation for any reason, including on the grounds of the sex of the child.

Bills can often take months to go through multiple stages in both Houses of Parliament and often have an element of public consultation. The Northern Ireland Bill however, was rushed through most of the parliamentary stages in less than a week.

Abortion remains a devolved issue in Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Assembly has consistently rejected abortion. Polling in the region has shown that the majority of women in Northern Ireland (66% in general and 70% of 18-34 year olds) do not want abortion law imposed on Northern Ireland from Westminster.

Furthermore, last weekend, tens of thousands of people attended demonstrations in Belfast against the Government’s extreme abortion legislation.

It is estimated that there are 100,000 people alive today who would otherwise not be, had the Abortion Act 1967 in the rest of Britain, been extended to that region.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said:

“The polling and public demonstrations over the last few days show how little public support there is for this new abortion law. It should come as no surprise that the radically pro-abortion Stella Creasy is extremely keen to ensure that the public are not consulted on this matter. If they were, they would probably reject it.”

“Unfortunately for Ms Creasy however, this is not how democracy works, and it is deeply undemocratic to remove the public from the conversation in this manner. You cannot intentionally keep the people of Northern Ireland out of the discussion simply because you do not like the answer they might give.”

Scottish politician could be removed from SNP election list after abortion row earlier this year

A MP for the Scottish National Party fears her opposition to lifting Northern Ireland’s abortion ban is the reason why she is the only party member who has not been approved to stand again, should there be a snap general election.

Lisa Cameron MP’s political future is in doubt as SNP members were emailed by party chairman, Angus MacLeod, on whether they want sitting MPs to fight a probable November poll or whether an internal selection should take place.

The party has since reselected 34 out of 35 MPs, but Lisa Cameron has not been placed on the SNP’s list of approved candidates.

In July, the former doctor voted against an amendment which would force abortion on Northern Ireland. While the matter was a free vote, for individuals to decide how to vote in line with their own conscience, the First Minister for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, made clear that she supported abortion.

MPs voted in favour of the abortion amendment 332-99 which was attached to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, ignoring the fact that abortion remains a devolved issue in Northern Ireland.

Dr Cameron has cited that her tragic experience of undergoing two very late-term miscarriages helped form her pro-life views.

She also revealed her office received more than 900 messages, including “abuse” and “cyberbullying” after she voted against the amendment.

She said: “It was a free vote, a conscience vote. I didn’t rebel or vote against the party whip. And yet now it’s virtually certain that abusive party activists will make sure I’m deselected and lose the job I love.”

“The attacks on me have been nothing less than vitriolic. One individual threatened to come over and ‘abort me’.”

Dr Cameron confirms she intends to stand. An SNP spokesperson said that the party’s selection processes were ongoing.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said:

“It is disgraceful that this MP should face deselection and receive such abuse for voting to protect unborn babies and in favour of not imposing abortion, which is a devolved matter, on Northern Ireland.”

“If she is deselected from the SNP, it would show the intolerance of pro-life views and those who respect and wish to defend the right to life of all human beings, born or unborn,  within the party.”

MPs decry “total legal chaos” that will result from NI’s new abortion regime

A Government Report on the implementation of a new abortion regime in Northern Ireland has been heavily criticised from across the House of Commons with MPs decrying the “total legal chaos” that will result from it.

Without any regulatory or legal framework on abortion before 28 weeks, abortions could be performed almost anywhere, including schools; there would be no requirement for parental consent or involvement for under 16s; there would be no requirement to see a doctor; abortion on the grounds of the sex of the baby would become legal; and as in England and Wales, the state will have the authority to force a woman to have an abortion against her will.

If the new abortion regime comes into effect with no law or framework governing abortion up until the 28th week of pregnancy, it will result in what Ian Paisley MP decried as “total legal chaos”.

Following on from this in a debate in the House of Commons yesterday evening (09/09) MP, Fiona Bruce, questioned how the new law will deal with the issue of forced abortions. In removing the current law, it will no longer be clear how to prosecute someone who forces a woman to undergo an abortion.

She also drew attention to the fact that without any regulatory framework, abortions could take place well past the point at which a child could survive outside of the womb. Ms Bruce described this situation as a “legal vacuum”.

The Report was supposed to review the current abortion law in Northern Ireland, and set out some details for how it will be overturned from the 21st October if Stormont does not reform.

However, in the estimation of a number of MPs from Northern Ireland as well as Conservative and Labour politicians, it failed to do that.

The Report follows a weekend of demonstrations in Belfast where tens of thousands of people rallied against the imposition of this extreme abortion law on Northern Ireland.

The debate takes place as the Government’s Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act – initially designed to extend the period for the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland – is set to radically alter the abortion law in Northern Ireland if the law comes into effect on the 21st October.

Currently, Northern Ireland has strong protections in law for unborn babies, but the new law set to be imposed by Westminster – without the support of a single MP from Northern Ireland sitting in the House of Commons – will repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act, upon which the abortion law in Northern Ireland is based. This will make abortion up until 28 weeks legal without any restriction.

If the Northern Ireland Assembly is able to reconvene before the 21st October, the abortion regime will not come into effect. However, MPs from the House of Commons have drawn attention to the inherent challenges of reconvening Stormont by this date because one of the main parties in that discussion, Sinn Féin, want Westminster’s extreme abortion law to come to Northern Ireland. As such, Sinn Féin have no incentive to reunify the Assembly.

There are around 100,000 people alive today who would otherwise not be, had the Abortion Act 1967 in the rest of Britain, been extended to that region.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said:

“Stormont has consistently rejected abortion and polling has shown that the majority of women in Northern Ireland (66% in general and 70% of 18-34 year olds) do not want abortion law imposed on Northern Ireland from Westminster.”

“The Northern Ireland Act has been hijacked by pro-abortion politicians and the statistics and demonstrations from the weekend show that the people of Northern Ireland do not want this draconian abortion legislation.”