Below is an edited version of an address given by Dwight Randall at the Rally for Life held at Parliament House on May 25th, 2006, to mark the eighth anniversary of the passing of Western Australia’s abortion law.
This Friday, May 26th, 2006, marks the 8th anniversary of the passage of the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Act 1998 which gave state sanction to the killing of unborn children up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, and in certain cases (to cull children with disabilities) beyond that.
During the first months of 1998 Richard Court, the Premier of Western Australia, bowed to pressure when Dr Victor Chan, an abortionist, was about to be prosecuted for performing an illegal abortion. The Premier should have stood firm and allowed the prosecution to continue, but instead he caved in and allowed the parliament to spend months debating abortion with the inevitable result.
Two rallies, each attended by about 2,500 people, were held on these steps to voice opposition to the legalisation of abortion. Many full-page advertisements on behalf of the unborn were printed in The West Australian. Close to 30,000 signatures were gathered in just one weekend, and presented to the Parliament. Pro-life parliamentarians were supported, encouraged, and provided with practical help, but sadly the battle to protect unborn children was ultimately lost.
I remember well the night when, in spite of the valiant efforts of a number of pro-life parliamentarians, the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Bill 1998 passed in the Legislative Council. It was one of the saddest moments in my life. Those of us who had been seated in the gallery listening to the deliberations in the Legislative Council started to leave, and as we descended the steps we were met by The Honourable—I say “honourable” truly meaning it—The Honourable Barbara Scott, who had tears streaming down her face. It was a poignant moment for me that I shall never forget. She, and a handful of other pro-life parliamentarians in the Council, had done everything that they could to stop or diminish the impact of the legislation. But they, and we, and unborn Western Australian children, had lost.
Barbara was weeping because she knew what was about to begin—namely that unborn children, having been stripped of their legal protection, would be killed in their thousands in the coming years with the sanction of the Parliament. And the appropriate response was to weep.
Eight years have passed since that dreadful night in May 1998. Since that time, 65,000 unborn children have been killed with the sanction of this parliament, at the rate of 8,000 per year. Think about that for a moment. That means that approximately 8,000 children, who would have been in year two at school this year, learning and laughing and playing, are missing. Another 8,000 children, who would have been in year one, are also missing. Another 8,000 children, who would have been in kindergarten are also missing. And so on, right down to the 8,000 who have been killed in their mother’s wombs over the last 365 days.
We have assembled today to give public witness to our distress and grief at the killing of these 65,000 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.
But not only did the Western Australian Parliament turn its back on children, it also abandoned women eight years ago. Thousands of women in this state have turned to abortion as a quick and legal alternative, only to be harmed emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. Thanks to the state parliament most were given inadequate information about the development of babies in the womb. Most were given inaccurate information about the risks of abortion, and led to believe that pregnancy posed at least an equal risk to their ongoing health. Most were not informed about the deep feelings of guilt and depression they might experience for years or decades after the abortion.
Therefore, in addition to remembering the 65,000 children who have been robbed of life, we should also remember the tens of thousands of women who have been damaged emotionally, physically and spiritually by abortion.
Will you please join with me in a minute of silence to remember these children, and their mothers, and 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.
Other speakers at the rally included Rev Ron Nugent, minister of All Nations Presbyterian Church; Andrew Lansdown, Life Ministries writer and editor; Joanna Lawson, from Respect Life Office; Dr Lachlan Dunjey, a General Practitioner and Christian Democratic Party candidate, Mr Richard Egan, the WA State Officer with Festival of Light Australia; Dr Graeme Jacobs, MLA for Roe; and the Hon Ed Dermer, MLC for North Metro.
Are you pregnant? Do you need emotional and practical support? Then we urge you to contact Pregnancy Problem House in Nollamara, Western Australia to see how they can help you.