# 1 Voting Issue this Federal Election: Life or Death

This federal election, Labor has made nationwide open-slather “free” abortions part of its policy platform.

By Teeshan Johnson

This federal election, Labor has made nationwide open-slather “free” abortions part of its policy platform.

While it’s heart-breaking that the war on unborn human beings rages stronger still, there is a small silver lining: Labor’s killing agenda, no doubt largely EMILY’s List driven, is no longer a dirty little caucus secret – it’s been proclaimed to the world! Hopefully, this cruel killing agenda will cost them the election.

Over the years, Labor state and territory governments have made unrestricted access to late-term abortion a policy priority, as evidenced by their successful implementation of brutal late-term abortion laws in Queensland, Victoria, ACT, Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory (see table below for details). A Labor victory in the federal election would herald unprecedented pressure on the states and territories to provide abortions at all taxpayer-funded public hospitals, so abortion is free across Australia. Labor has openly threatened it could withhold up to billions of dollars worth of health funding to the states and territories in the event of non-compliance.

Labor’s abortion plans also include pressuring the NSW state government to decriminalise abortion, and to build an abortion clinic in Tasmania courtesy of the humble taxpayer, as well as pressuring the SA state government to fully decriminalise abortion – as that state operates under a hybrid model.

Of course, this extreme accessibility is unnecessary from a purely supply perspective, as the abortion industry is already thriving in Australia. There are around 70,000 to 80,000 abortions a year – tragically Australia’s abortion rate is one of the highest among developed nations. In comparison, the US abortion rate is 30% lower than ours and Germany’s abortion rate is 70% less. Even in NSW where abortion is still technically  under the Criminal Code, abortion access is high, evidenced by the 20,000 aborted babies in the state every year.

Offering free abortion is sure to be a vote-winner for Labor, because everyone loves free stuff, right? Not so in the case of abortion. 51% of Queenslanders are opposed to public funding of abortion (ref question 21). And it’s a safe bet that the typical taxpayer won’t be wildly excited about the estimated $80 million plus cost to the public purse to fund the killing of more babies. Under Labor, public hospitals will be tasked with the nightmare of aborting unborn babies on demand, even full-term healthy babies to healthy mothers, as is already the case in Victoria.

At present, only about 10% of terminations in Australia are performed in public hospitals, so increasing that to close to 100% of abortions (because why pay when it’s free elsewhere) would put a tremendous strain on our health care system. It’s likely that wait times would blow out further, and that all trainee doctors in public hospitals would have to train in performing surgical and medical abortions. Obviously, the idea of performing an abortion is repugnant to many, particularly those of a monotheist faith (Christianity, Judaism or Islam) – which represents well over 50% of the Australian population according to the 2016 census. The thought of performing an abortion is likely to deter many people of faith from studying medicine. In time this would lead to a decrease in the quality of students studying medicine (as typically only the best students are accepted) and more doctor shortages, which would no doubt be mostly felt in rural regional areas. The ramifications of making abortion free and on demand with no restrictions is far-reaching and culture-shifting - it would undeniably corrupt the life-saving ethos of public hospitals.  

Federal Shadow Health Minister Catherine King, who is also an EMILY’s Lister (surprise!) said a Labor federal government would fix the “patchwork of inconsistent laws” across Australia. Crudely put, she wants abortion like McDonald’s - wherever you go in Australia you can get exactly the same thing. In practice, this would mean pressure on the states and territories with comparatively less extreme abortion laws to loosen them further to be in line with the most extreme jurisdictions  – namely Victoria, Queensland and the ACT where abortion to birth has been legalised for any reason. This is consistent with the objective of EMILY’s List’s, and now Labor’s, philosophy of having unrestricted access to free abortion right through pregnancy. In other words, abortion would be legal to birth for any reason in every state under Labor’s intended totalitarian abortion regime. 

It’s painfully clear that Labor’s plans would put upward pressure on the incidence of abortion, and there’s no doubt that under a under Labor there would be more abortions, including late-term abortions. Late-term abortions in Victorian have gone up on average by 40% year since the passing of Labor’s abortion-to-birth Bill there in 2008.  Also of concern is that there is no proposal to increase the accessibility and funding of alternatives to abortion like adoption. So much for so-called “choice” that Labor espouses. Australia’s adoption rate is shamefully bad - in the financial year 2017/2018 there were 32 local adoptions while there were approximately 80,000 abortions. That is an abortion to adoption rate of 2,500 to 1. This would only get worse with a Shorten Labor government.

This federal election, like no other federal election in Australia’s history, everyone’s vote will be for life or death. A vote for Labor or Greens will be a vote for more abortion, including the legal taxpayer-funded termination of babies to full term.

Preferences are likely to be crucially important at this election, as the result may well come down to the wire. In practically every election, preferences determine which party has the numbers to win government.

Please number each box on your ballot paper carefully, as in this election preferences may well have the power to save or kill.

It’s crucially important that all of us who love life spread the word: A vote for Labor this election will mean more babies killed and more women harmed by abortion.

Please vote for life, by putting Labor and Greens LAST this federal election.

SUMMARY OF AUSTRALIAN ABORTION LAWS – LABOR’s ABORTION OBSESSION

1. Australian State & Territory Termination of Pregnancy jurisdictions

STATE

LAW (link) / year

Summary** (more comprehenisve summary in the below table)

Political Party’s Bill

Queensland

Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018

Abortion to birth legal for any reason

Labor

Victoria

Abortion Law Reform Act 2008

Abortion to birth legal for any reason

Labor

Tasmania

Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Act 2013

Abortion to 16 weeks for any reason; 16 weeks to birth for medical/ psychological reasons.

Labor

Western Australia

Acts Amendment (Abortion) Act 1998

Abortion to 20 weeks for any reason; 20 weeks to birth for medical reasons.

Labor

ACT

Crimes (Abolition of Offence of Abortion) Act 2002;

Health (Patient Privacy) Amendment Act 2015

Abortion to birth legal for any reason

Labor

South Australia

Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (Current Version, Part 3 Division 17)

Abortion to 28 weeks for mental/physical health of mother or fetal disability.

Labor

New South Wales

Crimes Act 1990 (ss 224-226); R v Wald (1971);

Abortion lawful in practice because of case law, abortion on demand available at private abortion clinics up to 20 weeks gestation. Abortion still officially sits under the Criminal Code in NSW but there are approximately 20,000 abortions a year in NSW, effectively there is abortion on demand to 20 weeeks gestation in NSW. Abortions post 20 weeks can be obtained for serious fetal abnormality or if the life of the mother is at risk.

-In 2017 a Greens’ Bill to decriminalise abortionwas defeated 25 to 14 in the NSW upper house.

- 150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics since June 2018 (except for election materials)

N/A - case law

Northern Territory

Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform Act 2017

Abortion to 14 weeks for any reason. Abortion 14 to 23 weeks based on wide range of criteria including “social circumstances”. Post 23 weeks abortion is legal to save a woman’s life.

Labor

 

2. Expanded summary of abortion laws

STATE

LAWS

Queensland

- 22 weeks on request.

- 22 weeks to birth on a range of criteria including “social circumstances”.

- Doctors with conscientious objection to abortion must refer anyway.

- No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).

- 150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions (the cruel method banned in the US where a late-term baby is partially delivered feet first and then the baby’s head is decompressed while still in the birth canal).

Victoria

- 24 weeks on request.

- 24 weeks to birth on a range of criteria including “social circumstances”.

- Doctors with conscientious objection to abortion must refer anyway.

- No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).

- 150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions.

ACT

-Abortion is legal at any gestation until birth.

-Abortion is permitted by any registered medical practitioner in a medical facility or part of a medical facility approved by the Minister for Health.

- Every person has the right to refuse to assist with an abortion.

- 50 metre exclusion zones around abortion clinics. Penalty for breach: maximum 25 penalty units for engaging in prohibited behaviour; maximum 50 penalty units and/or 6 months’ imprisonment for publishing video of person entering/leaving facility.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions.

- No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).

Tasmania

- 16 weeks on request.

- 16 weeks to birth requiring consent of two doctors on medical  or psychological grounds.

- At least one of the doctors must specialise in obstetrics or gynaecology.

- Doctors with conscientious objection to abortion must refer anyway.

- Doctors, nurses and midwives continue to have a duty to treat during an emergency if a termination is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman or prevent serious physical injury.

- Doctors who hold a conscientious objection and fail to provide a woman with the list of prescribed health services risk professional (not criminal) sanctions.

- It is a crime for a person to terminate a pregnancy without a woman’s consent.

- It is also a crime for a person who is not a medical practitioner to terminate a pregnancy.

- 150 metre exclusion zone.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions.

- No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).

Western Australia

- Legal Up to 20 weeks on request to counselling by a medical practitioner other than the one performing the abortion

- When the life or physical or mental health of the woman is endangered and when the pregnancy causes serious danger to the woman's mental health, or when serious personal, family or social circumstances,

- After 20 weeks, for severe fetal abnormality – must be confirmed by two independently appointed doctors.

- The medical practitioner must provide the woman with counselling about the medical risks of having a termination and of continuing the pregnancy.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions.

Northern Territory

-Abortion legal up to 14 weeks gestation on request

- Abortion legal 14 weeks to 23 weeks on under a broad of criteria including social circumstances.

-Abortion legal from 23 weeks gestation to save the life of a woman.

- 150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics

- no requirement of parental approval for abortions

- RU486 tablets provided for early medical abortions.

- Doctors with conscientious objection to abortion must refer anyway.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions.

- No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).

South Australia

A 1969 statutory amendment allows abortion when:

●      two doctors determine the abortion necessary on mental or physical health grounds or for foetal abnormalities

●      performed in a prescribed hospital before the woman is 28 weeks pregnant and thereafter only to preserve the woman’s health

●      the woman has resided in South Australia for two months.

In an emergency, these provisions may be waived.

- No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die).

- No ban on partial birth abortions.

- No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).

New South Wales

Abortion lawful in practice because of case law, abortion on demand is available at private abortion clinics for up to 20 weeks gestation. Abortions post 20 weeks can be obtained for serious fetal abnormality or if the life of the mother is at risk.

Abortion is still listed as a crime under sections 82–84 of the Crimes Act 1900 (punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment), but the interpretation of the law is subject to the Levine ruling, from R v Wald of 1971,based on another ruling which held an abortion to be legal if a doctor had an honest and reasonable belief that, due to 'any economic, social or medical ground or reason', the abortion was necessary to 'preserve the woman involved from serious danger to her life or physical or mental health which the continuance of the pregnancy would entail'.

-This was expanded by CES v Superclinics Australia Pty Ltd (1995), which extended the period during which health concerns might be considered from the duration of pregnancy to any period during the woman's life, even after the birth of the child.

-In 2006, a doctor, Suman Sood, was convicted of two counts of performing an illegal abortion where she failed to enquire as to whether a lawful reason for performing the abortion did exist before supplying drugs.

-In 2017 a Greens’ Bill to decriminalise abortion was defeated 25 to 14 in the NSW upper house.

- 150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics since June 2018 (except for election materials)

- No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).