The Abortion Legislation Reform Bill 2023 has been sold to the public as being necessary to bring it into line with other states and “modernise” Western Australia’s (WA) abortion law.
The reality is that it does neither.
Most significantly, the Bill fails to include four important provisions that the South Australian Parliament included when it changed its abortion law in 2021.
In light of research conducted at La Trobe University, which found that in some ethnic communities in Australia, there are 125 boys born for every 100 girls, South Australia included a ban on sex-selection abortions.
It is abhorrent to think that WA’s Bill will now allow a baby to be aborted simply because it is female.
Further, in states where late-term abortions have been made easily accessible, there has been a significant number of so-called “failed” abortions—where the baby is born alive. The Victorian and Queensland authorities require these to be reported.
Hence, South Australia included a provision that babies born alive following a late-term abortion must be given the same medical care as would be given to babies born prematurely. To simply leave them in a medical tray until they die is inhumane.
In order to give women a genuine choice as to whether to abort or not, the South Australian legislation requires that women enquiring about abortion must be given information as to where they can access independent counselling.
Given that surveys consistently show that over 50 percent of women who have had abortions felt pressured to do so, this surely would be supported by anyone who says they are “pro-choice.”
The WA Bill simply allows late-term abortions if the doctor doing the abortion can find another doctor who will agree that the procedure, in all the circumstances, is appropriate.
It allows late-term abortions for psycho-social reasons, which effectively allows abortion to birth for any and no reason.
The South Australian legislation is slightly more restrictive, allowing late-term abortions only if there is a significant risk of serious fetal abnormality or serious risk to the physical or mental health of the mother.
Many surveys show that late-term abortions of healthy babies—when a baby has every chance of surviving into adulthood if it were born prematurely at that time—do not enjoy widespread community support.
WA Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson bizarrely labelled the parliamentary e-petition sponsored by her fellow Labor MP Kate Doust calling for these four South Australian provisions to be included in the WA Bill as “part of the misinformation campaign from the pro-life Christian lobby.”
Minister Sanderson claimed “there is no such thing as babies born alive after an abortion,” yet the Victorian and the Queensland Health Departments publish the numbers that occur in their states!
And surprisingly, she contradicts her claim that they do not occur when she admits that a small number of babies pass away post-termination.
Since the 1998 abortion legislation was passed, medical research has shown that babies begin to experience pain from 13 to 15 weeks onwards. As post-13-week abortions are usually conducted by inducing labour using misoprostol, the unborn baby experiences significant trauma during the delivery process