On the evening of Tuesday, 21 May 2013, to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the legalisation of abortion on demand in Western Australia, the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life held the 15th annual Rally for Life on the steps of Parliament House. The purpose of the rally was to remember the 125,000 children killed by abortion in Western Australia since May 1998 when the Acts Amendment (Abortion Act) 1998 became law.
It is clear that numbers are steadily increasing, with this rally being the largest since the rallies in 1998 when abortion was being debated in both houses of Parliament.Approximately 900 people of all ages attended this year.It is encouraging to see so many young people enthusiastically supporting this event. It is hoped that next year numbers will swell to over 1,000 people.
In the hour leading up to the rally, hundreds of people participated in a prayer and Scripture reading service that took place in the lawn area adjacent to Parliament House.
Dwight Randall, Director of Life Ministries and President of the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life reflected on the solemnity of the occasion, He said:
This Sunday, May 26th, 2013, will mark the fifteenth anniversary of the legalisation of abortion in Western Australia. Fifteen years ago the Parliament of Western Australia removed from unborn children the most essential right of all—the right to life itself. Since then 125,000 children, fourteen years old and younger, have been robbed of life.
Thank you for joining together with us to remember these precious children, deprived of life under our State’s merciless abortion laws. We will also remember and pray for the thousands of women have been wounded emotionally, physically and spiritually by abortion, and also the fathers, grandmothers, grand-fathers, brothers and sisters who also carry the hurts and wounds of this massive destruction of human life.
Will you please bow your heads with me in a minute of silence to remember the children, to remember their mothers, and to remember all others hurt by abortion? You might like to pray for strength to continue this fight until abortion becomes unthinkable in this state. In silence, let us remember them…
After a minute of silence, Dwight continued:
We are now going to reflect on the tragic abortion toll in Western Australia over the past 15 years since abortion was legalised. We will pray, and we will listen to the reading of Scripture.We are blessed to have 15 children participating in this time of prayer and reflection, one child representing each year since abortion was legalised in Western Australia.
Let us begin with prayer.
Almighty God our Father and Creator, we come before you humbly in prayer, recalling your great love and mercy towards us in Jesus Christ, your Son.
Tonight we remember with great sadness the 125,000 innocent children whose lives have been cruelly and wickedly destroyed by abortion while they were still in their mother’s wombs.
As we listen attentively to your word from the Holy Scriptures may we be convicted and inspired to treasure more deeply each human life, especially the lives of children born and unborn; may we resolve to work and pray for an end to abortion and may we trust ever more profoundly in your great power and goodness.
We ask these things through Jesus Christ, your Son. Amen.
Over the next half-hour Scripture readings were interspersed with prayers. One child born in each year since 1998, the first year of legalised abortion, represented the thousands of missing children that were deprived of life during that particular year. For example, in 1998, 4624 babies’ lives were lost to legal abortion. These children would be turning fifteen this year. The Scripture reader was for this group was Sandra McGinnity, and the child, a young lady now, was Maria McGinnity, born in 1998. Sandra McGinnity read the following passage from Exodus 1:16-21:
Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiph’rah and the other Pu’ah, “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.
So the king of Egypt called the midwives, and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?”
The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and are delivered before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and grew very strong. And because the midwives feared God he gave them families.
Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”
After Sandra McGinnity concluded reading the passage, Maria McGinnity briefly addressed the gathering.
This format, interspersed with prayer, was followed for each year from 1998 to 2013. The following heart rending numbers, each representing thousands of precious unborn children, were solemnly read to the gathering:
In 1999, the second year of legalised abortion, 8217 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning fourteen this year.
In 2000, the third year of legalised abortion, 8337 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning thirteen this year.
In 2001, the fourth year of legalised abortion, 8378 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning twelve this year.
In 2002, the fifth year of legalised abortion, 8262 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning eleven this year.
In 2003, the sixth year of legalised abortion, 7942 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning ten this year.
In 2004, the seventh year of legalised abortion, 7868 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning nine this year.
In 2005, the eighth year of legalised abortion, 7828 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning eight this year.
In 2006, the ninth year of legalised abortion, 8331 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning seven this year.
In 2007, the tenth year of legalised abortion, 8424 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning six this year.
In 2008, the eleventh year of legalised abortion, 8664 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning five this year.
In 2009, the twelfth year of legalised abortion, 8885 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning four this year.
In 2010, the thirteenth year of legalised abortion, 8414 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning three this year.
In 2011, the fourteenth year of legalised abortion, 8681 babies’ lives were lost to abortion. These children would be turning two this year.
In 2012, the fifteenth year of legalised abortion, as yet unknown number of babies’ lives was lost to abortion. These children would be turning one this year.
The service concluded with a prayer offered by Michelle Macormic, Executive Director of Living Alternatives Ltd:
Heavenly Father we thank you for the children who have witnessed before us to the joy of life. We ask you to bless all mothers and fathers and give them each the help they need to welcome the children you send them and to raise them to be fine men and women. Bring healing to those women who have undergone an abortion in the past. Reconcile them to yourself and make them also witnesses for life. Bless the work of those pregnancy counselling services that help women choose life. Bless the work of the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life. Empower each of us through the gift of your Holy Spirit to do great things in the cause of life. We make this prayer through your Son our Lord Jesus Christ who was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary; who died on the cross in order to conquer death; who has risen from the dead and bestows eternal life on all who come to Him. Amen.
After the service concluded, the gathering quietly walked the short distance from the lawned area next to Parliament House to the steps of Parliament House.
Rally for Life
At Parliament House, Dwight Randall opened the rally:
Fifteen years ago next Sunday, the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Bill 1998 passed into law. … Since 26 May 1998, 125,000 unborn children have been legally killed by abortion in this state.
We gather tonight to remember them, and to plead with our parliament to review their heartless law which has sanctioned killing on such a massive scale.
We gather to commend our pro-life parliamentarians who are publicly standing in defence of life, to urge them to do all that is in their power to stem the killing of unborn children, to hear from them, and express our heartfelt thanks to them.
Prior to hearing from several pro-life members of Parliament, on behalf of the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life, Dwight presented an award. He said:
This award is named after Clemens August von Galen and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Speaking of each of these two men, the award states:
Clemens August von Galen 1878-1946
As Catholic Bishop of Munster under the Nazi regime von Galen lived out his motto “neither praise nor threats will distance me from God”. He spoke out clearly against the Nazi euthanasia programme, despite the brutal response by the regime which sent many of his priests to their death in Dachau concentration camp.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945
Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor and theologian who insisted on a confessing church free from Nazi influences. He actively denounced the Nazi treatment of the Jewish people. He was condemned to death for his involvement in rescuing Jews and died as a martyr on 9 April 1945.
The Coalition for the Defence of Human Life has instituted the Von Galen-Bonhoeffer Award to recognise individuals, who by their courageous actions, inspire all of us to dedicate ourselves more fully to the great cause of the defence of human life from the onslaughts of the culture of death. It is named after two heroes from the Nazi period – one Catholic, and one Protestant. This reflects the ecumenical nature of our Coalition and our Christian fellowship in the cause of defending life.
Dwight explained that the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life invited Emeritus Archbishop BarryHickey to present this award, but he sent his apologies as he is currently overseas. However, he wrote the following words about this year’s recipient:
For all his adult life Brian Peachey has publicly defended the sanctity of human life from its earliest beginnings in the womb.
He has sought to influence public opinion, public policy, and politicians at State and Federal level to ensure the legal protection of unborn life.
A founder of the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life, he also established Pregnancy Assistance, an organization that attracts many volunteers who offer support, counselling and pro-life information to women in distress over an unexpected pregnancy. In addition he gained public funding for Miriam’s House for those women who need accommodation while awaiting the birth of their child.
A man of deep faith and strong Christian principles Brian Peachey is a worthy recipient of the VON GALEN-BONHOEFFER AWARD.
The award was then presented to Brian Peachey, who responded by making the point that if those who value the sanctity of human life persist, the battle for life is winnable.
Several MPs addressed the gathering, including Mr Peter Abetz, MLA, Member for Southern River; the Hon Michelle Roberts, MLA, Member for Midland; Margaret Quirk, MLA, Member for Girrawheen; the Hon Nick Goiran, MLC, Member for South Metropolitan Region; Hon Kate Doust, MLC, Member for South Metropolitan Region; Mr Jan Norberger, MLA, Member for Joondalup; and Ray Moran, National Director of Australian Christians.
In addition the following MPs were either present or sent apologies: the Hon Nick Griffiths, former MLA, the Hon Ed Dermer, MLC for North Metropolitan (who did not contest the election and finished his parliamentary service at midnight on the night of the rally. Ed had a flawless pro-life voting record dating back to 1998); and Mr Ian Britza, MLA, Member for Morley.