The deliberate and callous killing of innocent unborn children is without question one of the gravest moral issues of our time – perhaps the most important one. In Australia some 100,000 babies are murdered each year, with 45-50 million slaughtered annually worldwide.
Here in Victoria some 20,000 poor little babies are mercilessly cut to pieces, poisoned, burned or butchered each and every year. And in 2008 one of the world’s most liberal abortion laws was passed: the Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 (Vic). Ever since then the annual March for the Babies has taken place to keep this in remembrance and to protest against it.
In every way this was an atrocious law. Every single one of the amendments which would have softened it even a little was knocked back. Indeed, there were some 60 amendments all up and not one of them made it through. Consider just a few of these:
– providing support-counselling for women.
– providing information on the health risks of abortion.
– the right of healthcare workers not to participate in abortion or refer for abortion.
– banning late-term and partial-birth abortion.
– mandatory reporting of suspected child/teenage victims of sexual abuse when a suspected abuser takes them to an abortion clinic.
– notifying the custodial parent of a minor seeking an abortion.
– requiring abortionists to provide an anaesthetic to the unborn child being aborted.
– protecting the life of a child born alive after an abortion.
– providing legal protection for an unborn child seriously injured during an assault on the mother.
The refusal to allow any of these through shows how calloused and hard-hearted these politicians were. Hitler would be proud of such legislation. He too used the law, and the medical and scientific communities, to implement his nefarious agenda.
Pro-life forces are of course working to turn all this back. Especially of concern are sections of the law such as section eight. This places obligations on health practitioners who may have a conscientious objection to abortion:
“(1) If a woman requests a registered health practitioner to advise on a proposed abortion, or to perform, direct, authorise or supervise an abortion for that woman, and the practitioner has a conscientious objection to abortion, the practitioner must –
(a) inform the woman that the practitioner has a conscientious objection to abortion; and
(b) refer the woman to another registered health practitioner in the same regulated health profession who the practitioner knows does not have a conscientious objection to abortion.”
Thus the jackboot of the state crushes any conscientious objections here, and doctors and others must refer for an abortion whether they want to or not. As Senator Julian McGauran wrote at the time: “This new law has flagrantly stripped away the rights of doctors to decline any involvement in an abortion. The legal requirement of a pro-life doctor to refer a patient to a pro-abortion doctor cannot be dismissed as inconsequential. Nor can it be argued that the pro-life doctor is uninvolved in the final act. Under the new law, they must be involved.”
And it is not mere theory. Already we are seeing cases of health care workers being dragged before the courts for daring to stand on their own conscience. Here is how one recent story goes: “A doctor risks being deregistered because he allegedly refused a referral for an Indian couple who wanted to abort a healthy unborn baby girl at 19 weeks, simply because they wanted a boy.
“Dr Mark Hobart, 55, has been under investigation by the Medical Board of Victoria for five months, accused of having committed an offence under the state’s controversial Abortion Law Reform Act of 2008. His patient and her husband requested a sex-selection abortion after an ultrasound determined their fetus was female.
“They only wanted a boy, the husband told Dr Hobart, who, as a practising Catholic, had a conscientious objection to providing the abortion. Under Victorian law, he was obliged to refer the patient to a doctor he knew would terminate the pregnancy. But Dr Hobart doesn’t know any doctor who would agree to abort a healthy baby for sex selection reasons. ‘The general response from my colleagues is disbelief and revulsion,’ he said.
“In any case, a referral is not necessary for an abortion. Hobart’s patient independently procured the abortion a few days later. Neither she nor her husband made any complaint. But Dr Hobart now finds himself subject to a star chamber inquiry by the Medical Board of Victoria.”
As mentioned, pro-lifers are working on overturning this horrific legislation, especially section eight. In the meantime, the annual march for life continues. The next one takes place this Saturday in Melbourne at 1pm. Meet in Treasury Gardens, and show your support for the unborn, and your opposition to this diabolical law.
Everyone who cares about life should plan to be there. Indeed, I have spent quite some time seeking to put together an exhaustive list of every legitimate reason why you might not be at this march. Here then is my final listing:
-I died last Tuesday.
-I am in chains in a Saudi dungeon.
If that is you, then you are excused. Otherwise, I expect to see you there. We must show mass support for the cause of life, and we must let our politicians know just how bad this law is, and how it must be overturned. I remind you of the words of Bonhoeffer:
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”