This bill would allow the killing of an unborn baby for any reason, by any method, at any stage of pregnancy up until term, including during labour.
The doctors of Medicine with Morality acknowledge the complexity and agony that women face in unwanted pregnancy. We pledge our support to women with unwanted pregnancy and to those who may be distressed because of previous abortion.
But we need to state that abortion is the killing of a human life - consistent with our view on the intrinsic value of all human life from the time of fertilisation. Though not yet expressed, individuality is inherent and real in the genetic programming from the time of fertilisation!
But it is not just the life of the unborn that is devalued - with all its implications - it is the life of the pregnant woman as well. There is a need to fully discuss possible physical and psychological consequences for the pregnant woman as an essential part of the good medical practice of informed consent. First, do no harm applies to the pregnant woman as well as the unborn.
...for any reason
There are no restrictions proposed in the bill. The present situation where so many abortions are performed in Australia in the name of 'family planning' we regard as being totally unacceptable and we oppose any legislation that will facilitate this further.
Abortion for sex selection would be permissible, one case of which has already been demonstrated in Victoria and it is unknown how many there have been which have not been notified.
Abortion for a simple change of mind or breakup of relationship would be more available. Research has shown that in up to two-thirds of abortions the woman is pressured to have the abortion rather than her making that decision freely. The coercive effect would be amplified if this bill were passed.
In consideration of congenital abnormality, which lives should or should not be terminated? And what does our answer say about our view of the disabled in our world?
Already parents refusing termination for Down Syndrome babies are being labelled as 'genetic outlaws' for bringing this 'financial impost on the community'. We are practicing eugenic purification without calling it that. This also raises the problem of incorrect intra-uterine diagnosis and prognosis of disability.
We acknowledge there are times - fortunately rare - when for reasons of the mother's physical health that the pregnancy needs to be "terminated" as in being "brought on" but that does not include killing the baby. As per the
we uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.
...by any method
Including the horrific "partial birth abortion". It is incredible that such a bill be proposed without exclusion of this method.
The terrifying reality of this and other methods of abortion where body parts have to be reassembled in order to make sure the abortion is complete will ultimately be recognised but such information is deliberately repressed and images showing the truth are regarded as "obscene".
...at any stage of pregnancy
If termination for eugenic reasons is performed up to term then should this be extended - as has been suggested by very prominent ethicists - to early life outside the womb before self-awareness is apparent?
How can this be resisted when it will be argued that infanticide - euphemistically called "post-birth abortion" - with anaesthetic is more humane as it can be performed with no distress to the now delivered infant?
There are other matters to be considered:
The issue of pain in the unborn baby.
This is a hotly debated issue but there is good reason to believe that 24-week premature babies do actually feel pain and that withdrawal from noxious stimulus is more than reflex.
Quite apart from the innate gruesomeness of abortion procedures that are performed, the issue of foetal pain should concern us. How can it be that a baby to be dismembered during a routine abortion procedure is not provided with pain relief? Why is even the possibility that such pain may be felt hidden from the mother?
We look forward to a new generation that will look back with horror at what is currently allowed.
Re: Conscientious Objection
It is almost unbelievable that a bill should propose that failure to refer because of conscientious objection should be regarded as unsatisfactory professional conduct as per Schedule 1.3(b).
In light of the fact that no such referral is needed it would seem that this part of the Bill is punitive in nature. It is simply not needed.
However, it needs to be stated that Government must never compel actions by doctors that he or she deem unethical to perform. Codes of conduct -
conduct in particular - must transcend legality. Medical care must never be subject to degradation by governments in this age or any age to come.
The liberty to not be involved or complicit in matters considered to be unethical or inadvisable is critical for individual doctors and for the integrity and independence of the medical profession.
It is incumbent on our Members of Parliament to uphold and preserve ethical and moral values that honour our country. We ask that this bill be rejected in its entirety.