Pro-life Australian MPs pass amendment to prevent sex-selective abortion

Pro-life MPs in New South Wales, Australia have managed to add safeguards against sex-selective abortion to an extreme bill which intends to permit abortion up until birth with the approval of two health professionals. 

A simple amendment tabled by Finance Minister Damien Tudehope will state that the NSW Parliament opposes sex-selective abortions and will require a future review into sex-selective abortion with recommendations about how to prevent them.

It passed the upper house 28 votes to 13 after an earlier version, which attached a maximum six-month prison sentence for the offence, had been defeated. 

Last month, pro-abortion MPs pushed a radical bill through the state’s lower house which could permit abortion for any reason right up until the day of birth.

Since then the upper house has considered more than 30 amendments to the bill, with debates set to resume on Tuesday. 

In its current form, the extreme abortion bill will allow terminations up to 22 weeks without any kind of restriction at all as well as abortions up to birth if two doctors agree. 

In addition to an amendment is opposition to sex-selective abortion, Pro-life MPs have been successful in tabling and passing a number of other amendments that will help protect some unborn children who will prematurely lose their life as a result of the extreme abortion bill.

One such amendment is the survival amendment, tabled by MP Niall Blair, which states doctors must provide appropriate care to babies who are born alive after a botched abortion.

The Spectator’s Rebecca Weisser noted the importance of the amendment, comparing it to other Australian States without such laws saying:

“In Victoria, in 2016, 33 babies with suspected or confirmed congenital abnormalities were born alive and left to die out of 310 late-term abortions. In Queensland, more than 200 babies who survived abortions between 2005 and 2015 were left to die.”

The upper house also agreed to a positive amendment moved by MP Taylor Martin to change the name of the radical laws from the Reproductive Health Care Reform Act 2019 to the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019.

Other pro-life amendments to be debated include; improved conscientious objection protections for doctors and mandatory counselling for those seeking an abortion.

Another amendment by MP Greg Donnelly to require informed consent for terminations of unborn babies with a suspected or confirmed disability was rejected by 26 votes to 14.

The abortion bill will be sent back to the lower house next week for a vote on its new form.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“While it is great to see pro-life MPs have had success in softening New South Wales’ extreme abortion bill, any loss of life due to abortion is a tragedy. This appalling Bill will result in a profound number of lost lives as it 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”

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.”

Sex-selective abortion eliminates all girls in dozens of villages in Northern India

Out of 216 births across dozens of villages in northern India over the last 3 months, not a single girl was born, recent data has revealed.

An investigation is currently underway as to why not a single girl was born in 132 villages across the Uttarkashi district, in Uttarakhand state in northern Indian over a three month period. India already has a imbalanced sex ratio with significantly less girls being born than boys.

Census data from 2011 showed there were 914 girls to every 1,000 boys for children up to the age of six, but in some northern states that ratio was as low as 850, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

India outlawed sex-selective abortion and pre-natal sex detection in 1994 in order to try to prevent a further sex imbalance and the associated ills which often accompany it.

Sex-selective abortion and infanticide remain common practices however due to the cultural preference for male children. Dowries for girls, despite being outlawed, are often expected and expensive, and boys are expected to take the role of breadwinners for the family. In which case, many families desire a son for economic reasons.

Social worker Kalpana Thakur said that the latest statistics from Uttarkashi district showed the authorities were not doing enough.

“No girl child was born for three months in these villages. It cannot be just a coincidence. This clearly indicates female foeticide is taking place in the district. The government and the administration are not doing anything.”

A 2018 government report found about 63 million women were “missing” from the country’s population. This issue is explored in the documentary film it’s a girl.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a campaign in 2015 to try to address this problem. The campaign, called “Save the daughter, educate the daughter,” intended to enforce laws that forbid sex-selective abortion and diagnostic techniques used for female feticide.

This shocking news from India comes at the same time as an extreme abortion law is being forced on Northern Ireland which would permit sex-selective abortion in that region.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Clare McCarthy said: “It is a heartbreaking reality that some baby girls are aborted because they are female however, this is not just a problem limited to remote parts of India. There is a growing body of evidence that we have a sex-selective abortion problem here in the UK.

“It’s time for the Government to stop denying there is a problem here as well and to implement a ban on sex-selective abortion in the UK.”

Legislative assembly member Gopal Rawat said: “It is shocking to have a zero girl child birth rate in 132 village of the district, as we have rarely heard of seen any incident of female foeticide in the hills.

“I have directed the health department to find out the real cause of such alarming figures and to take serious action to resolve it.”

He added authorities would also launch “a massive awareness campaign” in the hope of reversing the trend.

(Image credit AdobeStock: Pineapples)