Recently I gave my extended thoughts on the NSW abortion bill. It has since passed the lower house of the NSW Parliament.
Beneath that fact lies some detail that many won’t know about.
During the parliamentary debate, a whole range of amendments were proposed to make changes to this dreadful law. Most of them were moved by Tanya Davies MP, the Member for Mulgoa.
And each of these amendments was voted down; they were rejected by the members of the lower house.
You may ask, what were they? The answer is depressing.
The first one is of tremendous significance - an amendment to ensure babies that are born alive are rendered medical care. That is, the same neonatal care that would be afforded any other child born at the relevant stage of gestation if it were a wanted child.
Astonishingly, the parliament said no. Babies born alive as a result of botched abortion procedures must be left to die.
In Victoria between 2009 and 2016 there were 304 babies born alive because abortions failed, but were then left to slowly die on operating tables and rendered no care.
In Western Australia between 1999 and 2015 at least 26 babies were born alive after failed abortion attempts. They too were left to die.
Gemma Tognini writes in The Daily Telegraph, “An amendment to provide medical care to babies that survived abortions was somehow voted down. Voted down. Say that aloud if you dare. A baby born alive who needs medical help is left to die. My heart breaks.”
This actually happens, right across the country. It's very hard to get the stats, but I have mentioned two states - one that's highly populated with liberal abortion laws one that's less populated with less liberal abortion laws.
These babies will continue to die in criminally inhumane, wicked circumstances simply by being left on the operating table and not being rendered any medical help.
The Second amendment that was voted down was an amendment to require that abortions performed on children under 16 are reported to the relevant authority.
The parliament said no. They voted against it.
So, a pregnant minor may seek an abortion and no investigation is made regarding possible child sexual abuse. It's not even brought to the attention of any authority.
The bill in its current form in fact contains provisions for overruling the wishes of parents when an abortion is requested by their child who is a minor.
We know that girls who abort rather than carry a pregnancy to term are five times more likely to seek help for psychological problems thereafter, three times more likely to report trouble sleeping, and nine times more likely to report marijuana use.
Yet they wouldn't allow an amendment to this bill that would require a doctor to make a report when a child, a girl, under 16 comes in for an abortion.
The third rejected amendment would have required counselling and a 72-hour cooling-off period for any woman seeking an abortion.
Women seeking an abortion are often facing grave challenges. It is true that many wouldn't have an abortion for choice.
An independent counsellor in those circumstances may be rather helpful. Three-month post-abortive women have a three and a half times greater incidence of clinical depression and one fifth higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. That's not just some random fringe study - the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend this: “a woman's physical, social, emotional, and psychological needs should be taken into account in the course of decision making and pre- and post-termination counselling by appropriately qualified professionals should be made available.”
Why? Because it's more than just a medical procedure. Why? Because it's not just removing a clump of cells. Why? Because there's something psychological that takes place when a woman kills a child; when a woman's motherhood instinct is torn apart and the child is disposed of.
The activists tell us the psychological impacts are not significant, but they are.
The case of Kathy Clubb taught me a great deal. Kathy went to the High Court because she stood near the East Melbourne abortion clinic and made simple offers of help to women who were approaching it. In the course of her ministry there, she saw more than 300 babies born alive because of the interventions of her and others.
These women often had a trouble, a doubt, a concern about what they were doing. But there was a problem that drove them to it. Sometimes it was domestic violence and coercion. They needed help. Sometimes it was that they were poverty stricken, bankrupt, and needed help. Sometimes it was that they'd been deserted and left alone in the world and had no friends or support. They needed help. Sometimes they did not know how they were going to care for that child and raise it as an infant. They needed help.
Help can be provided to women who find themselves in these circumstances. Abortion is not the answer. But the parliament, including the Premier and Deputy Premier, said no.
An amendment to permit conscientious objection by doctors was also voted down. We know the law as it currently stands says that a doctor, regardless of faith, regardless of religious conviction, regardless of their conscience, must be complicit in abortion. They must either perform the abortion or refer the patient to someone who definitely will.
Now, anybody with a Christian faith knows that is to be complicit. The doctor's right of integrity of his conscience is taken away. It is deeply harmful to a person to have them required by law to do something that wounds their conscience. That then inflicts them with guilt - it is very serious. How wrong it is not to take conscience seriously.
But because the Parliament thinks it's a good idea to impose this law, they now want every doctor to be complicit and to affirm and applaud it through their practice.
So, a reasonable amendment to permit the most basic of freedoms - the freedom of the mind and the conscience and belief, was rejected.
The parliament also voted down an amendment to make it an offence to coerce someone into having an abortion. This, in an age of domestic violence concerns.
A Galaxy poll was done in Queensland a while ago which revealed something I can scarcely believe. Among living, breathing, walking Queenslanders, 26 percent - more than a quarter - reported knowing a woman who has been coerced into having an abortion.
Two high profile footballers recently had former girlfriends come out and say they were coerced. One was paid hush money. Both regretted it.
What happened to domestic violence concerns? Apparently they’ve conveniently evaporated - this amendment was voted down.
Speaking of women’s rights, an amendment to ban sex selection abortion was voted down.
It is widely known that some cultures prefer male children. It was recently documented that an area of India covering 132 villages has had no girls born over a period of three months.
But it’s not limited to other countries. A study conducted by La Trobe University found that there are far fewer girls being born into certain ethnic communities in Australia, demonstrating that sex selection abortion does occur here.
A technician who came to my house to fix my NBN connection got talking with me about this legislation. He was telling me that it is unlawful in parts of India for doctors to disclose the sex of an unborn child to its parents. When I explained to him that the NSW legislation permitted sex-selective abortions, he said he couldn’t believe me.
It turns out we can learn from India on this matter.
Melbourne doctor Mark Hobart was disciplined by the Medical Board of Victoria for declining to refer a couple for an abortion because the child was a girl. They wanted a boy.
Whilst Dr Hobart was disciplined by the medical board, the doctor who performed the abortion was not.
Nature magazine says some 45 million girls worldwide were never born because of the use of sex selective abortions during the past half century.
Yet an amendment to prevent daughters being slaughtered was also voted down, along with the others.
There is an argument that some have in all of this that the change in the law won’t make any difference anyway.
Abortion is currently in the criminal code, but it does not stop abortions. The practice does not match the law. So, is it not the case that this legislation just bring the law in line with current practice?
Associate Professor Joanna Howe and Professor Suzanne Lynn Meyer from the University of Adelaide Law School made the following finding:
“The New South Wales bill is based on the Queensland model which in turn was based on the Victorian laws. So, the situation in that state is a relevant case study. Since abortion was decriminalised in Victoria in 2008, post 20-week abortions have increased by thirty-nine per cent. In Victoria in 2011, for example, an abortion was carried out at 37 weeks, and 10 healthy viable babies of healthy mothers between 28 - 31 weeks’ gestation were also aborted for psycho-social reasons. In Victoria between 2009 and 2016 there were 304 babies who were born alive in the abortion process who were left to die on the operating table.”
So, there is no doubt late term abortions will increase in New South Wales under this liberalised law.
Not only that but all the atrocities that go with it, like babies born alive and left to die.
Note those Victorian figures - over 300 babies born alive and left to die - but in Western Australia where the same extremely liberal law doesn't exist, it was only about 30. It makes a difference. It all goes up when abortion is legal and liberal - sex selection abortions, doctors taken to the Medical Board for conscientious objection, children under the age of 16 seeking abortions…
Sometimes I finish these topics on a positive note. But I am not going to do it this time.
I want the gravity and seriousness of this just to sit, because I think we all need to face reality sometimes. I fear that many Australian Christians are naïve about these realities - about where society is at. Naïve about just how bad things are.
People have truly forgotten God. Look how brazenly and deliberately and knowingly and carelessly otherwise respectable people are enabling this grave evil with no conscience about it.
Too many are ignorant, but too many are also numb. We don’t feel the outrage we should feel in the face of such wickedness; the conviction that enables response and action.
Until we understand how far we have come, we will never act as we are called to act in dark times: to shine the light in the darkness, to remain uncompromised, to stop committing the sin of silence, and to be unashamed of the priceless truth we carry for a hurting, breaking world.