Media Release 26 May 2021
Right to Life fully supports the excellent and timely petition of our member Sarah-Jane Cleaver who with passionate dedication has obtained the signatures of 6,586 concerned citizens who are now requesting Parliament to legislate to require that babies born alive in an abortion receive appropriate palliative care. The petition is currently being considered by the Parliamentary Petitions Select Committee.
The Ministry of Health has advised Right to Life that there were 13,236 unborn babies killed by abortion in New Zealand in 2020. 120 of these babies were late term and were 20 weeks or more gestation. One of these was awaiting birth being between 35 and 39 weeks.
The Ministry of Health does not require that abortionists report babies being born alive in an abortion. It is appalling that there is no record of the fate of these poor babies. Right to Life makes no apology for speaking up in defence of these children who have survived a determined and vicious attack on their lives. They are human beings endowed by their Creator with an inalienable right to Life and have a right to respect and appropriate palliative care. Who can ignore the cries of these babies as they fight to breathe?
It is known that babies are born alive in abortions. There has been a six-fold increase in late term abortions in Victoria Australia following decriminalisation of abortion in 2008.
In 2016 there were 310 late term abortions resulting in 33 babies being born alive. The Victorian Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity reported that in 2012 there were 53 ‘terminations of Pregnancy’ after 20 weeks ‘resulting in live birth’. There is no legal requirement to provide care for a baby born alive in an abortion in Victoria.
In Queensland between 2005 and 2015, 204 babies were born alive as a result of abortions. In 2015, 27 babies of 20 or weeks gestation survived only to die later of neglect. The Queensland health authority directs that no palliative care is to be given to any baby born alive in an abortion.
There are no statistics on babies born alive in NSW. The law in NSW requires that palliative care be provided to a baby born alive in a late term abortion.
There are no statistics on babies born alive in South Australia. The law in South Australia does not require that palliative care to protect the life of the baby born alive in a late term abortion. In these circumstances, the baby is wrapped in a blanket and the mother is given the opportunity to hold the baby as it dies.”
In Western Australia there were 27 babies born alive in late term abortions in 1999-2016. There is no legal requirement to provide care for a baby born alive.
The Ministry of Health web site states “a live birth after an intended abortion is extremely unlikely. From 22 weeks of pregnancy, feticide (an injection to stop the fetal heart) takes place prior to the abortion. This is not a legal requirement.”
In the event that this did occur, all babies born alive are legal people with the same rights as any other person. There is a requirement to provide health care in the same way as for any other baby. This is a request that may or may not be followed.
We urgently need a law to protect these children who are the weakest and most defenceless members of our human family.
If we do not legislate we may in the future have a direction from the Ministry not to provide palliative care and just to hold the baby until it dies.
Right to Life