House debates

Thursday, 25 February 2021



11:23 am

Photo of George ChristensenGeorge Christensen (Dawson, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last night, I watched and heard the testimony of a midwife who was present at a live birth following an abortion. She was asked to actually photograph the child for the hospital records or the medical clinic's records, and while taking the photograph the child actually started breathing. The child started breathing and continued to live for several hours, and that child died without any medical intervention. This happens in hospitals and abortion clinics across this country on a more regular basis than we would like to think and what the abortionists like to admit, because one of them, in recent times, has said that this is a rare occurrence; it is not a rare occurrence.

I had the Parliamentary Library do a bit of research on this topic, looking into the commonality of abortions where there is a live birth. What they found is that, according to the Mother, Baby and Child publication, there was a total of 1,626 late-term abortions in Victoria that resulted in 198 live births between 2012 and 2016. That's over 12 per cent of those late-term abortions that resulted in live births. There does not appear to be any medical intervention as a result of those births.

In Queensland, an ABC report stated there were 204 terminations with live birth outcomes between 2005 and 2015. In fact, the Queensland Health clinical guidelines for medical termination of pregnancy actually state that if a live birth occurs:

Do not provide life sustaining treatment (e.g. gastric tubes, IV lines, oxygen therapy)

  …   …   …

Document date and time end of life occurs

In other words, leave the baby to die.

In WA, as at 19 May 2017, there were 27 cases of abortion that resulted in a live birth that were reported between July 1999 and December 2016. Of these 21 were at 20 weeks gestation or later. There is no record of medical intervention or resuscitation in these cases.

In South Australia, while abortion has been liberalised very recently, thanks to the work of people like Jodie Pickard and Love Adelaide, and the work of Senator Antic, who's in the chamber here listening to my speech, there have been provisions put into new laws that actually make it a legal obligation that medical care be given to babies born alive during abortions.

We don't know the full picture. Those stats that I quoted from other states are not the full picture, and there is certainly no data out of Tasmania, the Northern Territory or the ACT. Also, New South Wales does not publish statistics.

We have external affairs power in our Constitution, and we have international obligations under the international Convention on the Rights of the Child. In that international convention, which we have signed up to, it states in article 6:

States Parties—

which include Australia—

recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.


States Parties—

again, including Australia—

shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.

Further, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that:

Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

An honourable member: It sounds pretty clear to me.

That is clear; we are in breach in this country of our international obligations. As a result, I have had the Parliamentary Counsel actually draft for me a bill. It is the Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Bill 2021. This bill seeks to make it mandatory in all states and territories for all corporations that are involved in medical terminations of pregnancies, or abortions, to actually provide medical life-saving treatment when a child is born alive as a result of an abortion. Whatever your view on abortion, there is no argument that a child that is out of the womb, that is at 22 weeks or more and has a chance of living—we know this from babies that are born very, very early—there should be no argument against providing a child life-saving treatment in these circumstances.

I have written to the Prime Minister, the health minister, the Attorney-General and the Deputy Prime Minister asking to consider making this bill a government bill or at least allowing it as a private members' bill to go to a vote on the floor of parliament. This should be the most serious issue before this parliament because it's a life and death issue. Young babies are dying across this country, and it needs to stop!

Question agreed to.

Federation Chamber adjourned at 11:29