Qld Health Committee given proof of late-term abortion for ‘social’ reasons in Victoria as late as over 37 weeks


Cherish Life Queensland has called on the Queensland Parliament Health Committee to seriously consider the evidence it provided in its submission and at last week’s hearings on the Termination of Pregnancy Bill that late-term abortions of healthy babies of healthy mothers have occurred in Victoria as late as over 37 weeks gestation, which is regarded as full-term.

“It was very concerning that the committee seemed unaware of the evidence provided in our submission about the increase in late-term abortions in Victoria since the passing of the Abortion Law Reform Act in 2008 which decriminalised abortion in Victoria,” Cherish Life executive director Teeshan Johnson said.

“There was an average increase of 98 late-term abortions per year in Victoria since decriminalisation of abortion in late 2008, a 39% jump.1

“Since Jackie Trad’s Bill is almost a mirror image of the Victorian law, this is an extremely important warning for Queensland.

“That’s nearly two extra late-term babies being killed each week. Before decriminalisation there were almost five late-term abortions per week in Victoria, and since decriminalisation there have been about seven late-term abortions per week on average.

“Almost half of late-term abortions performed in recent years in Victoria have been performed for reasons other than foetal abnormality or health of the woman or the child. In other words, healthy babies of healthy mothers are aborted legally under the Victorian Abortion Reform Act, on which the Queensland Termination of Pregnancy Bill is modelled.

“In 2011 in Victoria, a healthy baby of a healthy mother was aborted for ‘psycho-social’ reasons at over 37 weeks' gestation2 – this is regarded as a full-term baby.

“In that same year, 10 healthy viable babies of healthy mothers between 28 and 31 weeks gestation also were aborted for ‘psycho-social’ reasons in Victoria.”

Ms Johnson said the committee just seemed to be going through the motions in reviewing Deputy-Premier Jackie Trad’s Bill, with a pre-determined decision that the majority is working towards.

“There has been a bias towards supporters of the Bill who were favoured in time and representation, with just 40% of the total time across the three public hearings given to pro-life witnesses, and 60% to pro-abortion or pro-choice witnesses.

“This bias was even more pronounced in the selection of expert witnesses, with 10 pro-abortion doctors up against just two pro-life doctors, one invited pro-life obstetrician not being allowed to speak, and six lawyers supporting the Bill compared with just two lawyers who opposed certain aspects. The only pregnancy counselling service called to give evidence was one which promotes abortion.

“It seems the majority of committee members were more interested in exploring our ideological positioning, in what felt like a bid to polarise or discount our evidence, than seriously considering our submission on why the Termination of Pregnancy Bill should not be passed, which included proof of an increase of almost 40% in late-term abortions following decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria 10 years ago.

“The tight time frame will mean the Health Committee will not be able to properly consider the 6,200 public submissions it has received before it is due to report to Parliament on 5 October.

“The fact that this is more than twice the number of submissions for the two inquiries into the Pyne abortion Bills of 2016 shows the level of community concern about Jackie Trad’s extreme abortion Bill. As 85% of submissions to the Pyne Bill inquiries were opposed, it is a safe assumption that the vast majority of the submissions received this time also would be against Ms Trad’s brutal Bill.”

APPENDIX 1

Gestational ranges of perinatal deaths (VICTORIA) from 2009-2015 for maternal psycho-social indications only - non-medical reasons, healthy babies to healthy mothers


Year

 

20-27 weeks


28-31 weeks

 

32-36 weeks

 

37+ weeks


2015

 

107


0

 

0

 

0


2014

 

146


0

 

1

 

0


2013

 

179


0

 

0

 

0


2012

 

132


0

 

0

 

0


2011

 

172


10

 

0

 

1


2010

 

184


7

 

0

 

0


2009

 

203


11

 

0

 

0

From Victorian Maternal, Perinatal, Child and Adolescent Mortality statistics, The Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity

See also Victorian Late-Term Abortions table 2000-2016

APPENDIX 2

Comparison Table


Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018


Pyne Bills 2016 - Abortion Law Reform (Woman’s Right to Choose) Amendment Bill 2016 & Health (Abortion Law Reform) Amendment Bill 2016 – moved by Independent MP Mr Rob Pyne in 2016 and withdrawn in February 2017 because it was evident that they would have been defeated if put to a vote in the Queensland Parliament


Victorian abortion law: Abortion Law Reform Act 2008


Abortion for any reason up to 22 weeks gestation


Abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks gestation


Abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks gestation


Sex-selective abortion legal


Sex-selective abortion legal


Sex-selective abortion legal


Abortion from 22 weeks until birth, for a wide range of loose criteria including “social” reasons. Two doctors give the approval.


The first doctor can be the abortionist and the second doctor (who can also be an abortionist) doesn’t have to see the woman or even read her file. No legal penalties on doctors if rules not followed.


Abortion from 24 weeks until birth, if there is a “risk… to the physical or mental health of the woman”. Two doctors give the approval. The first doctor can be the abortionist and the second doctor (who can also be an abortionist) doesn’t have to see the woman or even read her file. No legal penalties on doctors if rules not followed.


Abortion from 24 weeks until birth, for a wide range of loose criteria including “social” reasons. Two doctors give the approval. The first doctor can be the abortionist and the second doctor (who can also be an abortionist) doesn’t have to see the woman or even read her file. No legal penalties on doctors if rules not followed.


Doctors with conscientious objection must refer for abortion, or to another doctor who will help the woman with her abortion request, and therefore be complicit in the outcome of an abortion.


Full conscientious objection provision for doctors and nurses.


Doctors with conscientious objection must refer for abortion, or to another doctor who will help the woman with her abortion request, and therefore be complicit in the outcome of an abortion.


Abortions to be performed at taxpayer-funded public hospitals and therefore free.


Abortions to be performed at taxpayer-funded public hospitals and therefore free.


Abortions to be performed at taxpayer-funded public hospitals and therefore free.


No protections for women considering an abortion – no independent counselling, informed consent conditions or cooling-off periods.


No protections for women considering an abortion – no independent counselling, informed consent conditions or cooling-off periods.


No protections for women considering an abortion – no independent counselling, informed consent conditions or cooling-off periods


150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.


50 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.


150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.

Inquiries: Contact Cherish Life Qld executive director Teeshan Johnson 

2 Table 6.21b, Page 162, 2010/2011 Victorian Maternal, Perinatal, Child and Adolescent Mortality statistics, The Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity http://realchoices.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/VicPNData2010_11.pdf