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SUBMISSIONS: QLD Live Births Bill

All Newborns Deserve ‘Best-Practice’ Medical Care 

Abortion has been legal in Queensland from conception to full-term since the Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018 came into effect on December 3rd, 2018.  However, unlike similar laws in South Australia and New South Wales, the Queensland Termination of Pregnancy Act is silent on what happens when a child is born alive as a result of a termination of pregnancy procedure. 

On 20 March 2024, Robbie Katter MP, Member for Traeger, introduced the Termination of Pregnancy (Live Births) Amendment Bill 2024 into the Queensland Parliament and referred it to the Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee for examination. The committee is required to report on its examination of the Bill by 20 September 2024. 

The Bill seeks to codify recent changes in clinical guidelines adopted by Queensland Health, which now recognise the need for comprehensive care for babies born alive following termination procedures. These updated guidelines underscore the importance of providing appropriate medical care and attention to all newborns in line with New South Wales and South Australian legislation and in accordance with international human rights standards. 

The Bill seeks to clarify the legal and ethical obligations surrounding the medical care of babies born alive during termination procedures. The Bill carries significant weight from a human rights perspective. 

  • Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts the inherent right to life and states that “everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.” Similarly, Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises the right of every child to the highest attainable standard of health and calls for the provision of necessary medical care and attention to newborns. 
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, in Article 12, emphasises the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. This includes the provision of medical care and necessary social services to ensure the well-being of individuals, including newborns born as a result of termination procedures. 

Taking action today is imperative.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

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Write a Submission

Please consider writing a submission to the Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee. 

Submissions are due by 4pm on Monday, 13 May 2024, either by: 

  1. Emailing a Word or PDF document to The Secretary, Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee: [email protected]  
  2. Completing an online submissions at: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Work-of-Committees/Committees/Committee-Details?cid=238&id=4401 

Some notes and links to help with your submission: 

“When I heard Queensland lags behind other jurisdictions in ensuring these babies – these humans, these Queenslanders – are properly cared for and treated, I was compelled to develop this Bill with the KAP,” 

“It protects right to life; the protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; the protection of families and children; and right to health services,” 

“The former health minister and now Premier assured the parliament that late-term abortion would not increase under the then new laws introducing abortion up to birth. 

“This has proven to be horribly incorrect. 

“In 2018, before the abortion up to birth bill passed, 152 Queensland gestationally viable babies were killed via late-term abortion. 

“By 2021, however, the number had doubled, with 304 Queensland babies tragically killed in late-term abortions. 

“More late-term abortions mean more live births after a late-term abortion. In just the last two years that we have data for, 90 Queensland newborns were born alive after an abortion and did not have a legislative right to care and to be treated equally like all other newborns.” 

“Leaving them alone to die in a room by themselves or in a medical waste bin or wherever should be something that should not even be contemplated.” 

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