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Help us remember them: Lamenting the loss of 100,000 children by Dwight A. Randall


Help us remember them:

Lamenting the loss of 100,000 children

by Dwight A. Randall

One of the darkest battles that Life Ministries and Western Australian pro-life groups ever fought took place in the early months of 1998. The battle was fought against the parliament of Western Australia in its determination to legalise the killing of unborn children through abortion.Sadly, the battle was ultimately lost.

For the better part of a century, between 1913 and 1998, the Criminal Code of Western Australia provided considerable protection to unborn children. The vast majority of doctors refused to perform abortions, while some who risked doing so were prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned. The Code reflected a more compassionate and just society where unborn children were valued and safeguarded.

But in the 1960s, the laws prohibiting abortion were increasingly overlooked and prosecutions ceased.Successive governments from both major parties ignored the plight of the unborn and remained inactive while unborn children were killed in their thousands each year.

Even then, the old law was not without effect, for most pregnant women knew that abortion was illegal. Doctors still worried about prosecution. And the law still had an educative function in the community, helping people to understand that abortion was no misdemeanour, with penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment for those performing them. The old law, then, was compassionate and just.

The new law that replaced it in 1998 is the opposite: it is brutal and unjust. It marked Western Australia as a barbaric society—a society which has lost its most basic sense of justice and entered a very dark period.

On 7 May 1998, the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Bill 1998 (known as the Davenport Bill) passed through the Legislative Assembly with a vote of 32 to 22. On 20 May 1998, the bill passed through the Legislative Council with a vote of 24 to 9. On 26 May 1998, the Governor of Western Australia, Major General Michael Jeffery, informed the Legislative Council that he had given royal assent to the bill. Thus, it became legal for mothers in Western Australia to kill their unborn children for any reason whatsoever during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and in some cases, even beyond that.

Over the past 12 years, since its passing, 100,000 children have been killed with the sanction of the state! It is likely that many of these children would be alive today if the Court Government had determined in 1998 to protect unborn children instead of capitulating and introducing legislation that would inevitably not only strip legal protection from them, but also grant legal protection to doctors who killed them.

To commemorate the terrible loss of these 100,000 children, the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life* is organising a Remembrance Walk and Rally for Life on 25 May 2010. Rather than holding a rally at Parliament House at noon on the anniversary of the passage of the legislation, as has been done every year since the passage of the legislation, this year’s commemoration will be an evening procession of prayer, scripture reading, repentance and resolution.

The Remembrance Walk and Rally for Life will begin at 7.00 pm on 25 May on the grounds of St Mary’s Cathedral in Victoria Square, with a message from Archbishop Barry Hickey.

The gathering will then walk from the cathedral along St Georges Terrace to outside Government House, where on 26 May 1998, the WA Governor gave royal assent to the abortion bill, ignoring the 10,000 signatures gathered on a petition against the bill over the preceding weekend.Pastor Rob Furlong will lead the gathering in a reading from scripture followed by a prayer of repentance on behalf of the government and citizens of Western Australia.

Further down the Terrace, the gathering will pause outside of the Premier’s office to remind Colin Barnett (who voted for the bill in 1998) and his government that the first duty of the government of Western Australia is to protect in law all of its citizens—especially the innocent, weak and vulnerable.

The evening will conclude at Parliament House with words of encouragement from several pro-life MPs from all parties who are determined to continue to fight for the rights of the unborn.

You are warmly encouraged to attend the walk and rally, to invite your friends to join in, and to promote it in your church.


*Dwight Randall is the president of the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life and will chair the rally.Andrew Lansdown also serves on the board of the coalition, and Life Ministries is an affiliate.

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