In Abortion, Life Advocacy

Below is an edited version of an address given by Dwight Randall, who chaired the annual Rally for Life held at Parliament House on May 26th, 2005.*

Today, May 26th, 2005 marks the seventh anniversary of the passage of the most terrible legislation that has ever been passed by the West Australian parliament. Seven years ago today the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Act 1998 gave state sanction to the killing of unborn children up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, and in certain cases beyond.

Since we gathered here on the steps of parliament one year ago to mark the sixth anniversary, another 8,000 children have been deprived of life.

We have assembled today to give public witness to our distress and grief at the killing with the official sanction of the State of Western Australia of some 57,000 unborn children since the Act was passed. We have assembled today to renew our commitment to reverse the Abortion Act no matter how long it takes. We have assembled today to offer our support for the right to life for all human beings from fertilisation to natural death.

If we were to give each of these 57,000 children just one minute in time, starting right now, it would take 40 days to account for each child who has been killed. At the rate of one per minute, it would take until Tuesday, July 5th to account for each child.What a shameful and terrible toll of innocents, and what a disgrace for a supposedly civilized society.

In a moment we are going to remember these 57,000 children with a minute of silence.Each second will represent almost 1,000 unborn children who have been stripped of protection by this state and killed.

We should also remember and pray for the women who have submitted to abortion. Beyond the 57,000 unborn children who have been deprived of life, tens of thousands of women have been damaged emotionally, physically and spiritually by abortion.

Most of them were not given accurate information about the development of babies in the womb. Most were not given accurate information about the risks of abortion—not only for themselves, but also for the children they would carry in the future. Most were not informed about the deep feelings of guilt and depression they might experience for years or even decades after their abortion. The truth is that no woman can submit to ending the life of her own child without being harmed in many serious ways.

We are here today to remember these unborn children. Will you please join with me in a minute of silence to remember them, to remember their mothers, and to remember others who have been hurt by abortion? You may wish to bow your heads and pray for them, and to pray for strength to continue this fight until abortion becomes unthinkable in this state. In silence, let us remember them. …

In a moment we are going to hear from some of our pro-life parliamentarians. But before they speak to us, let me give you a word of encouragement. Between “us” on the outside and “them” on the inside, we can work together to successfully reduce the number of abortions in Australia.

On the “us” side of the scale, we must continue to offer compassionate alternatives to abortion. We must continue to inform people in our schools and universities, and through letters, articles, publications, and rallies like this today, about the terrible realities of abortion.

The truth is that we are making an impact. An independent research company, Market Research, recently surveyed a random group of 1,200 people and found that less than 15 per cent of Australians back the continued Medicare funding of post-20 week abortions. This is because over 56 per cent of Australians believe that “by 20 weeks of pregnancy, an unborn child is a human person with human rights.”

The survey found that nearly 63 per cent of Australians are opposed to Medicare funding of abortions performed after only 13 weeks of pregnancy. Nearly half of the population, 48 per cent, are opposed to Medicare funding of abortion at any stage of pregnancy at all.

We must work on the “outside”. And, as we work on the outside, our pro-life parliamentarians, both at the Federal and State level, will work on the “inside”.

Federal Health Minister Tony Abbot has rekindled the public debate on abortion across Australia. Federal and State pro-life politicians are now grappling with the question, “What can be done?” A growing number have now expressed their eagerness to tackle the “national tragedy of abortion.” Perhaps if the Federal Medicare funding of post-20 week abortions can be successfully brought to a halt, then our State parliamentarians can implement a plan to curb or stop post 20 week abortions in WA.

If we work together, supporting each other, we can prevail.

* The keynote speaker for the rally was Archbishop Barry Hickey who spoke on the pro-life legacy of Pope John Paul II and the culture of life. Other speakers included Andrew Lansdown, Life Ministries’ writer and editor, who read protest poems from “The Yellow Star of Life”; Pastor Rob Furlong from Thornlie Church of Christ, who spoke about the tragic events surrounding the death of Terry Schiavo; Richard Egan, State President of National Civic Council, who summarised the content of the discussion paper on the Medical Treatment for the Dying issued by Attorney General and Minister for Health Jim McGinty; and Gerard Goiran, State president of the Christian Democratic Party.
Pro-life politicians who spoke included Hon Barbara Scott, MLC; Hon Ed Dermer, MLC; Dr Graham Jacobs, MLA; and Paddy Embry (former MLC).Pro-life politicians who attended the rally included Hon Kate Doust, MLC; John Castrilli, MLA; Troy Buswell, MLA; and Hon John D’Orazio, Minister for Justice.
Members of parliament who were unable to attend the rally but sent their apologies included Hon Michelle Roberts, MLA, Minister for Police; Mrs Katie Hodson-Thomas, MLA; Miss Margaret Quirk, MLA; Mr John Quigley, MLA; Ms Sue Walker, MLA; Dan Sullivan, MLA; Hon Paul Omodei, MLA; and Hon Nick Griffiths, MLC, President of the Legislative Council.
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