“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is with a heavy heart that I bring to your attention a key priority of mine this past year. What follows is a story of 14 Western Australians who, regrettably, cannot be with us today. Since 1998, 14 babies were amazingly born alive following an attempted medical termination procedure. Of these, not a single one was reported to have been given any subsequent medical treatment.
It is a sad contrast between the excellent efforts made by King Edward Memorial Hospital, whereby they are willing to provide full support for the resuscitation and treatment of premature babies born as early as 23 weeks gestation, that these young Western Australians were left to die.
For me personally, this has disturbing parallels with the days of the Roman Empire when people who had an unwanted or unsatisfactory child, could leave them by a wall to be dealt with by the elements.
In an age where it has become unpopular and politically incorrect to talk about morality, I think we have an obligation to stand up and say that this is morally wrong. Those who disagree might at least like to reflect on the fact that it is, at the very least, illegal. According to section 269 of the Criminal Code; ‘A child becomes a person capable of being killed when it has completely proceeded in a living state from the body of its mother, whether it has breathed or not, and whether it has an independent circulation or not, and whether the navel string is severed or not.’
I humbly suggest that the failure to provide the necessities of life to babies born alive after an abortion would be a concern to most Western Australians regardless of their personal views on abortion.In my view, we should not shy away from this topic just because the topic of abortion is controversial.Actually, this has nothing to do with abortion.Rather it has all to do with a baby born in Western Australia deserving the same kind of medical treatment as you or I would expect if we were in a WA hospital.
As a consequence of this injustice, since 2011 I have been working hard to prompt an inquiry into this matter.Some of this ‘heavy lifting’ has included; presenting petitions to the Parliament containing collectively 5,144 signatures calling for an inquiry, posing and pursuing a number of parliamentary questions and dedicating my budget-in-reply speech on 23 May 2012 to this issue. This will remain a key priority of mine this year until this systemic failure has been properly uncovered.