The Abortion Legislation Reform Bill 2023 has been marketed by the Minister for Health, Amber-jade Sanderson as being necessary to ‘bring Western Australia in line with other states’ and to ‘modernise’ the legislation.
‘The reality is the Bill does neither,’ said Peter Abetz, WA state Director of the Australian Christian Lobby.
“It is appalling that the Bill does not include four important provisions which South Australia added into its Termination of Pregnancy Act in 2021 to address current issues in abortion.
“A ban on sex selection abortions is missing, even though Latrobe University research has shown that in some ethnic communities in Australia there are 125 boys for every 100 girls. Whether one is pro-choice or pro-life, it is abhorrent to think that the revised law still allows babies to be aborted simply because they are female.
“Likewise the Bill fails to include the South Australian provision which obligates medical staff to provide babies born alive as a result of a late term abortion with appropriate medical or palliative care.
“Minister Sanderson bizarrely labelled the parliamentary e-petition sponsored by her fellow Labor MP, Kate Doust, calling for four of the South Australian provisions to be included in the WA Bill, as ‘part of the misinformation campaign from the pro-life Christian lobby’.
“The Minister has also buried her head in the sand over the issue of babies born alive as a result of late term abortions. She has infamously declared that they don’t occur, even though the Victorian and Queensland authorities publish the numbers that occur in their states – 328 and 398 respectively in the years 2010 to 2020. The Minister contradicted herself by admitting that a small number of babies pass away post-termination!
“With the legislation allowing abortion on demand right up to birth, it is imperative that the legislation ensures that babies born alive are given appropriate medical or palliative care.
“The Bill also fails to require pain relief to be provided to the unborn baby for post-13 week abortions, even though the latest medical research shows that babies in utero feel pain from 13 to 15 weeks onwards.”
Mr Abetz called on all Legislative Council members to support the inclusion of the South Australian provisions as proposed by the Hon Kate Doust (Lab) and the amendments moved by the Hon Nick Goiran (Lib).
Mr Abetz said that at the next election, the Australian Christian Lobby would be reminding voters how the members voted on these amendments.