ACL has asked the Queensland Coroner’s Office to advise whether or not the deaths of two healthy babies born alive after failed abortions and then left to die were investigated.
According to information provided to the Parliament, the babies underwent abortion for “maternal psycho-social” reasons, meaning there was no foetal abnormality.
ACL spokesperson Wendy Francis said the babies were issued with death certificates in recognition that they were human beings but it remained unclear whether the Queensland State Coroner investigated the deaths which occurred in 2012-13.
Ms Francis said it was important that these deaths were investigated before Parliament contemplated removing all safeguards for mother and baby as proposed in the abortion-to-birth bill that has been tabled by Cairns MP Rob Pyne.
Ms Francis today told the Queensland Parliament Health, Communities, Disabilities and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee which is investigating Queensland’s current abortion laws that she had written to the Coroner requesting certainty that the deaths have been investigated in accordance with the law.
“The Coroner has responsibility to investigate reportable deaths including those deemed unnatural deaths,” Ms Francis said.
“It is important that in the area of post-natal care Queensland has in place best practice guidelines.
“Late term babies being aborted have an increasing chance of surviving if they are afforded the care that the community expects and which is offered to other pre-mature babies.
“With this in mind we have sought clarification as to whether these deaths were reported to the Coroner in accordance with the law and if the Coroner subsequently investigated these deaths.
“If these deaths have been overlooked we request the Coroner investigates how these babies died.”
The Queensland Health Minister, Hon Cameron Dick confirmed in May that around 200 babies have survived abortion procedures in Queensland over the past decade and were born alive.
“We do not seek in any way to lay blame or assign liability for the death of these two Queensland babies, but they, like all other Queensland babies who die at, or after, twenty weeks gestation, or who weigh more than 400 grams, or who gasp at birth, or have a heartbeat, will have been granted death certificates acknowledging their humanity, and therefore their human rights,” Ms Francis said.
“If the lives of these two babies that we know of could have been saved, why weren’t they? And what should future best practice look like?
“We have requested the State Coroner’s office to investigate these cases as a matter of urgency due to the current debate.
“We cannot possibly consider weakening Queensland’s current abortion laws to allow for late-term abortion when questions such as this are unanswered.”
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