The Australian Christian Lobby joins with calls from parliamentarians for an inquiry into the deaths of 14 West Australian babies after they were refused medical treatment.
Member for South Metropolitan Region Nick Goiran told parliament in May that since last year’s revelation that between 1999 and 2010 14 babies born alive after an abortion procedure did not receive medical care, no action had been taken to investigate these deaths.
Mr Goiran told parliament that during the 1998 debate of the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Bill 1998, which legalised abortion in the state, including, subject to certain conditions and procedures, abortions performed at 20 weeks gestation or later, assurances were given that the full criminal law on homicide would apply if a child was born alive.
“The then Attorney General made reference, as I understand it, to the provisions of the Criminal Code dealing with homicide by those with the duty of providing the necessities of life, and whether they were failing to do so,” he told parliament.
Mr Goiran said he was horrified to learn that no attempt had been made to resuscitate the babies.
“My initial thought went back to the days of the Roman Empire when people who were dissatisfied with the so-called quality of their child or for whatever reason really did not want their child to be there, there was a wall, and people could leave the child there to be dealt with by the elements. It just struck me that surely to goodness it cannot be the case that in the twenty-first century in Perth, Western Australia, we could have the equivalent of that happening in our state; surely that could not be the case,” he told parliament.
He said that six of these abortions were conducted before the 20 week stage of the pregnancy. However, how many of those remaining were undertaken after 23 weeks, a point at which many premature babies survive, has not been made public knowledge.
“My question is: who is going to speak for those who were never able to speak for themselves? It is a serious concern that babies who possibly could survive if given help are being denied that help because they have been born alive following an abortion at 20 weeks gestation, or later,” he said.
The ACL reiterates Mr Goiran’s call for an inquiry into these deaths and asks that a register of abortions be kept in order to gather data and to increase accountability for those conducting abortions in the future.