Thousands of Victorians marched through Melbourne's CBD on Saturday. Why ? Who needs their protection ?
This month snapper commence their annual migration into Port Philip Bay. These fish are highly prized by recreational anglers and in accordance with sustainable fisheries priorities Fisheries Officers will enforce size limits to protect juvenile fish.
If you are caught taking or being in possession of an undersized snapper it will be returned to the water and you can expect an infringement notice. If your offending involves numerous undersized fish, they will be returned to the water and you can expect to be charged, face court and be fined or worse. Something in a previous life I was employed to ensure.
Tragically, unborn babies in Victoria are not afforded the same protection as our undersized fish.
In 2007, the then Premier John Brumby announced that Victoria's abortion laws were "out of step with community sentiment" and he commenced a process that lead to the liberalisation of abortion law.
The Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 now provides that abortion may be performed by a medical practitioner up to twenty four weeks without reference to any criteria. Abortion after twenty four weeks and up until the moment of birth, can be performed after confirmation by any two medical practitioners that the abortion is appropriate, having regard to all relevant medical circumstances and the women's current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances.
These provisions have created an environment of abortion on request. It is estimated, based on Medicare statistics that approximately 20,000 abortions occur in Victoria each year.
The 2009 Annual Report of the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity (CCOPMM) released in June 2012 reveals that from a total of 410 post twenty week abortions, 210 were performed on babies without physical defects, including ten undertaken after twenty eight weeks. Children at this stage of gestation are certainly capable of surviving outside the womb.
The 2010 report of CCOPMM revealed 345 late-term babies were killed in 2007 and that fifty four of them were still alive after the abortion procedure.
This lead then MLC Peter Kavanagh to try to set up an investigation into the cases of the fifty four babies who survived their abortion and were subsequently left to die. The questions he wanted answered related to what efforts were made to ensure those children had the best possible healthcare and opportunity to live. The motion was defeated. Mr Kavanagh was described in Parliament as "disgusting" for even raising the issue.
However, when the federal Parliamentary Group on Population and Development told a Senate Inquiry in 2008 that public funding of abortion was needed because the birth of babies with disabilities would be a burden on the budget, it is hard to expect much sympathy for the situation of the unborn in certain sections of our parliaments.
Fortunately for those who do not understand the importance and relevance of this issue a documentary will be released next month entitled "The Voice of John". This film will discuss the reality of babies born alive after abortions. In The Voice of John the humanity of the unborn will be made real -"one small voice will speak for millions."