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Breaking the truce on abortion

By David van Gend - posted Friday, 12 September 2008

Libertarian politicians will rejoice this month if all restraints on abortion in Victoria are struck down - but they forget history at their peril. They forget that the eight-year reign of their nemesis in the United States, anti-abortion President George W. Bush, is in large part a consequence of the social rage maintained since the US Supreme Court abolished all restraints on abortion in 1973.

Nothing mobilises the Republican heartland like the affront of that unlimited abortion license, and the crushing moral weight of the one million tiny bodies that pile up each year. Mainly black bodies. They know, as George Orwell knew with communism, that “There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that needs to be built on a mountain of corpses” and will never rest until such a regime is defeated.

Nothing has so strengthened Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s prospects as having a pro-life running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, who this year refused to abort her baby diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, and who supports her pregnant 17-year-old unmarried daughter rather than making her fix her little mess.


Nothing has so damaged Democrat candidate Barack Obama as the recent publicity that he voted for abortion even when it was effectively infanticide. He opposed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, legislation that aimed to give babies who survived abortion the same care as any other newborn. Babies like Gianna Jessen, who spoke last week with politicians in Canberra and Melbourne about surviving a late-term saline abortion in America in 1977.

But the US experience will not discourage certain legislators in Victoria - pens poised to legitimise late-term abortion by exquisite torture, with no mercy to survivors, and prosecution of doctors who conscientiously object.

The Abortion Law Reform Bill 2008 (PDF 589KB) permits abortion “on demand” to 24 weeks, with no need for medical or moral justification. No questions asked, even where it involves entirely healthy babies who are older than the “premmies” being cared for in our hospital nurseries. From 24 weeks to birth the Bill permits abortion on the colluding nod of two abortion clinic doctors.

This brutal Bill rejects even the least consideration of justice or mercy for the baby. No more would we hear judges like Queensland’s Justice McGuire declare: “The Law in this State has not abdicated its responsibility as guardian of the silent innocence of the unborn”. Instead of such sentiment, the Victorian Bill promises us abortion red in tooth and claw, where deranged parents can take their visibly kicking and jumping six-month baby to a clinic where, for $4,000 less Medicare refund (current Melbourne rates) a doctor will undertake “cranial decompression” (current Melbourne method) also known as “partial-birth abortion”.

In the published lecture of a Melbourne abortion practitioner, this method involves partly delivering the struggling baby by her legs, piercing her skull without any pain relief and evacuating the brain to ensure “no chance of delivering a live foetus”. When asked in 2005 by a reporter on 60 Minutes: “Do you pierce the baby’s head with a sharp instrument?” this doctor replied, “I’m not going to discuss details or specifics about procedures because I don’t think that you or the public needs to know”.

Do Victorian legislators need to know? Even in Washington “partial-birth abortion” has been banned by Congress in 2003 and the Supreme Court (PDF 370KB) in 2007 as “gruesome, inhumane and never medically indicated”, but not in Melbourne.


The knowledge is not hard to come by. If MPs need to view medically-certified diagrams of the procedure, they can click here.

If MPs are concerned about the infliction of extreme pain during partial birth abortion, let them study the expert testimony to the US Congress by Professor of paediatrics and anaesthetics, Jean Wright. She concludes (PDF 736kb): “The pain experienced during “partial birth abortions” by the human fetus would have a much greater intensity than any similar procedures performed in older age groups.”

If MPs do not know what a healthy 24-week baby looks like in the womb, let them view the beautiful 4D-ultrasounds of these babies at the London IVF Clinic site, Then let them explain how they dare exclude these fellow creatures from the human family and the impartial protection of law.

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About the Author

Dr David van Gend is a Toowoomba GP and Queensland secretary for the World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human Life.

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