About 800 concerned people of all ages participated in a Remembrance Walk and Rally for Life on Tuesday evening, 25thMay to lament the loss of 100,000 babies killed by abortion since 1998. Below, for the benefit of Life News readers, is a detailed account of the evening.
St Mary’s Cathedral
Dwight Randall, Chairman
Thank you for joining us this evening. Please follow the instructions of the marshals, especially when crossing the streets.
The Precious Feet badges are a gift to you to help remember this event. Wear them as a witness to our tiny brothers and sisters who can’t walk with us tonight.
Please hand the candles into the marshals after the conclusion of the Rally.
Would you please now welcome the Most Rev Barry Hickey, Catholic Archbishop of Perth, as he comes to speak to us?
Most Rev Barry Hickey, Archbishop of Perth
Tonight we want to exercise our democratic rights to make our voices heard in public, and we want to say as clearly as we can that children in the womb are truly alive, that they have a right to live and that our laws should offer them protection.
As it is, nearly all the protection built into our laws in the past for unborn human life has been progressively taken away over recent years. It is time to put back laws that protect children in the womb and by doing so, declare that those lives are valued and precious.
Let us remember that when a woman is pregnant there are two beating hearts, not one, the mother’s and her child’s.Why should anyone think that they are justified in stopping the beating heart of a child?Incredibly this is called a morally legitimate choice.But how can it possibly be?
Our cause is often presented wrongly as a choice between the mother’s rights and the unborn child’s rights.This is not so.We contend that the mother’s rights, dignity, happiness and peace of mind are ultimately best served by respecting the unborn child’s right to live.The choice to end the child’s life, often made under intense pressure from others, is not a choice that liberates but one that compounds the problem and leads to unhappiness and sorrow.
The society we want to see and to build is one in which all human life is sacred and treated as such.”
At the conclusion of the Archbishop’s talk, the gathering was instructed to proceed to Government House. It took several changes of traffic lights for the crowd to safely cross each intersection as it wound its way prayerfully to Government House.
We pause here outside Government House because it was here on 26thMay 1998 that then Governor Michael Jeffries gave the Royal Assent to the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Act 1998. Days earlier a petition which had gathered over 11,000 signatures in a single weekend was presented to him by representatives of the youth organisation Cry for Life. A candlelight vigil was held on this spot.
We listen to the Scriptures and pray that God will have mercy on our State and hear our prayers for repentance and for a new respect for every human life.
Scripture Reading from
II Chronicles 7:12-22 (RSV)
Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice.
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there for ever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time.
And as for you, if you walk before me, as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘There shall not fail you a man to rule Israel.’
“But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from the land which I have given you; and this house, which I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which is exalted, every one passing by will be astonished, and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’
Then they will say, ‘Because they forsook the LORD the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore he has brought all this evil upon them.’”
Rev Rob Furlong
Almighty God our loving and gracious Father,
We humble ourselves before you in prayer tonight earnestly seeking your mercy and forgiveness for this State of Western Australia.
For the past twelve years we have forsaken your commandment “Thou shalt not kill”. We have abandoned innocent children and their mothers to the horror and abomination of abortion – the slaughter of the child in the womb.
Lord we are deeply grieved for the one hundred thousand babies who have been sacrificed to the gods of convenience and materialism; whose lives have been wilfully destroyed before their eyes could see the light or their ears hear your word.
Lord, they are, each one of them, children made in your image and likeness; children for whom your Son Jesus Christ shed his most precious blood; children who would have loved us.
On behalf of all those who have been complicit in this slaughter of the innocents we earnestly implore your mercy.
For our own failure to do everything that could be done to end the killing and restore respect for human life we ask your forgiveness.
Heal our land; restore our State to a right relationship with you; bring an end to the killing of the innocent; hear our prayers and do not forsake us for you are our only hope.
Pour out your grace and kindness upon us and upon all the people of this State. Grant to all pregnant women the natural joy of motherhood and strengthen in each of them a desire to protect and nourish the children they conceive.
Revive in the men of our State a true nobility of spirit to take responsibility for the children they father and to protect them from all harm.
Restore to our lawmakers the wisdom that comes from you that they may see that their first duty is to ensure that the law protects the most innocent and defenceless from harm.
Stir up your Church O Lord to proclaim with clarity and power the truth of your word concerning the sanctity of human life and the commandment “thou shalt not kill”.
Father, we make these petitions trusting solely in the merits and mercy of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ who with you and the Holy Spirit is one eternal God. Amen.
At the conclusion of the Scripture reading and prayer, the gathering proceeded to the Premier’s Office at Governor Stirling Tower, St George’s Terrace.
We pause here outside of the Premier’s office to recall how in 1998 abortion was legalised. An abortionist by the name of Victor Chan, after performing thousands of illegal abortions over many years, was finally charged with procuring an abortion and was facing trial. Then Premier Richard Court, forgetting his earlier pledge that “abortion was an abuse which warranted a massive campaign against it” caved in to pressure and decided to give over government time in both houses of parliament until the two private members’ bills to legalise abortion were debated to a conclusion. These were the darkest days in the history of our parliament.
We also recall that the current Premier Colin Barnett voted for the abortion bill.
We want to declare here tonight that we will not rest until abortion is prohibited and punished by law. We will not rest until the right to life of every child is respected and protected.
Spokesperson for women
Abortion is a tragedy for the unborn child who will never experience life outside of the womb. It is a tragedy, for the woman who suffers, is often, forced by circumstances.
The current law in Western Australia ignores the suffering associated with abortion, making it sound like the easy option, but many women are left emotionally traumatised.
Every law permitting abortion is a terrible hypocrisy against women. The lawmakers claim that it’s about rights, but what’s right about taking the life of an unborn child? Or what’s right about leaving a woman with emotional scars that last a lifetime?
We, the women of Western Australia, pledge ourselves to work for the restoration of a law that justly acknowledges the reality of life within the womb.
We will stand beside women faced with a crisis pregnancy affirming that women are capable of making life-affirming choices even in difficult circumstances.
We will teach our daughters to respect themselves and their capacity for motherhood.
Spokesperson for men
The law permitting abortion at the request of the mother denies fathers the natural right to defend and protect their offspring. Some men do not want their partners to kill their unborn children, but the law denies them any say in this life-or-death matter. However, some other men have failed to love, honour and support the women who are bearing their children, abandoning them, or even pressuring them to procure an abortion.
As for us, the men of Western Australia present here tonight, we pledge ourselves to honour and support the mothers of our children, and to work for the restoration of a law that protects every child within the womb.
We will encourage other men, and we will teach our sons, to value their capacity for fatherhood; to protect the life of every child they father; to treat women with respect and dignity; and to defend the innocent from the attacks of the wicked.
We will not rest until every child is welcomed in life and protected in law.
Spokespersons for youth
Sarah Laundy and Chris Laundy
When abortion was made legal in 1998 we were too young to vote.
We have inherited a State where it is lawful to kill children before birth. This is not our view of a just society.
We commit ourselves to build a new society where every one of us is valued just for being human; where the weak and most vulnerable are granted special protection.
Now that we can vote we pledge ourselves to oppose any candidate for election who will not support laws protecting innocent human life.
We pledge ourselves to share with our peers our passion for life.
We pledge ourselves to treasure our own capacity as men and women for fatherhood and motherhood and to respect each other as men and women.
Spokespersons for children
Kazia Macormic and Cameron Macormic
In the last twelve years one hundred thousand babies have been killed before they could be born.
That is one hundred thousand too many.
It needs to stop now.
These babies are the little brothers and sisters of our friends and school mates.
They haven’t been given a chance at life.
This is not fair.
Every child deserves a chance at life.
Let’s all work together to stop abortion.
We can with God’s help make Western Australia a better place.
The gathering then walked to Parliament House where they were joined on the steps by pro-life MPs: Peter Abetz MLA (Southern River, Lib), the Hon Nick Goiran MLC (South Metro, Lib), Bill Johnson MLA (Cannington, ALP), Tony Krsticevic MLA (Carine, Lib), Mike Nahan MLA (Riverton, Lib) and Joe Francis MLA (Jandakot, Lib). Apologies and best wishes were received from Ian Britza MLA, the Hon Michelle Roberts MLA, the Hon Helen Morton MLC, the Hon John Castrilli, Minister for Local Government and the Hon Ed Dermer MLC.
Dear people gathered here tonight, on behalf of the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life, thank you so much for participating in the Remembrance Walk and Rally for Life. Thank you taking the time to join with other Western Australians in solidarity to demonstrate your support for children in the womb.
It is difficult for us to grasp the magnitude of the lawful killing of human beings in Western Australia. Over the past 12 years unborn children have been killed, with the sanction of the state, at the average rate of 22 per day, or 8,000 per year. We know what a gathering of 22 children looks like. But it is harder to imagine 8,000 children. Perhaps we could compare it to eight large schools full of children.
But 8,000 represents only a single year. Tomorrow will mark the 12thanniversary of the passage of the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Bill 1998, the most despicable piece of legislation that has ever been passed by our parliament. Later this year one unknown day (unknown at least by human minds) will mark the deaths of 100,000 defenceless children with the sanction of this parliament.
We are assembled here this evening to remember these 100,000 unborn children who have been deprived of life under this state’s merciless legislation. We mourn for these 100,000 children, who instead of laughing and playing and learning and growing and being loved, have had their lives snuffed out. We pledge to never forget these little children who were utterly forsaken by this parliament.
In addition, we mourn for the tens-of-thousands of women who have been harmed by abortion, regardless of whether it was their choice, made much easier by the passage of the legislation, or whether they were pressured by others. We pray that they will come to find forgiveness and peace.
Will you please join with me in a minute of silence to remember the children, and to remember their mothers, and others who have been harmed under this legislation? You may wish to bow your heads and remember them, and to pray for strength to continue this fight until abortion is brought to a halt. In silence, let us remember them…
The parliamentarians and the 800 people present bowed their heads in prayer for a minute of silence.
Twelve years ago the majority of parliamentarians in this house chose to listen to the shrill cry of militant feminists and others who demanded “reproductive freedom” for women.
By doing so, the parliament abandoned unborn children. In the single greatest act of injustice, it stripped them of lawful protection, and thus it contributed to the killing of approximately 25 per cent of all children conceived since 1998.
But the parliament did more than abandon children. It also abandoned women. The current law which grants state approval for abortion abandons them, and helps to push them, bereft of solidarity, to abortion.
The parliament also abandoned families.The law sanctioning abortion often pits partners against each other. He pressures her to have, not an illegal, but a state sanctioned abortion, against her will. Or she determines to have an abortion, and bereft of the support of the law, he is powerless to prevent the killing of his own child.Or perhaps both wrongly agree that abortion is their best alternative, especially considering that it is now legal.
The parliament also abandoned justice and morality. It is the primary duty of the parliament to protect its citizens. It is never the business of the parliament to pass laws that permit the killing of a single innocent person, never mind thousands of them. But our parliament legalised the killing of Western Australian children by the tens of thousands.
Perhaps many within the parliament who supported the legislation in 1998 hoped that the pro-life and pro-family citizens of this state would become complacent about abortion, and tire of reminding the parliament of its actions.
But 12 years and 100,000 dead children later, we who are gathered here this evening, with a growing number of pro-life members of parliament, have not become complacent about the killing, and we will not cease to remind this parliament of its abandonment of our children.
When the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Bill 1998 came into effect we solemnly pledged that we would never forget these children. That is a promise that we have kept each year for the past 12 years.
There is only one way to silence us, and that is to reverse this great injustice by reinstituting laws that will protect unborn children by prosecuting those who would profit from killing them. We say to the parliament tonight, “Put this matter right! Protect children. We will not be silent until you do!
After Dwight’s talk and the minute of silence to remember the 100,000 missing children there were brief speeches given by several MPs.
Peter Abetz proposed that, while continuing to work towards the repeal of the law permitting abortion, as an interim measure the law be amended to require that before an abortion was performed the woman must be offered to be shown a 3-D ultrasound of her unborn child. Mr Abetz cited the experience in the United States where pregnancy resource centres have reported that over 80% of abortion-minded women who view such an ultrasound, along with sympathetic counselling, decided to continue their pregnancy.
Bill Johnston and Joe Francis each expressed a strong opposition to abortion and a commitment to work for the protection of unborn children.
Nick Goiran explained the new threat to human life from Robin Chapple’s Voluntary Euthanasia Bill 2010. He urged the crowd “You need to stay active on this issue so we don’t end up with another group of people who can be legally killed in WA.”
Richard Egan, national policy director for Family Voice Australia spoke briefly on Robin Chapple’s Euthanasia Bill.
After the rally Richard spoke briefly to Premier Colin Barnett, who emerged from Parliament House towards the end of the rally, and who, although he voted for abortion in 1998, has stated that he is opposed to the legalisation of euthanasia.
For the first time in many years the annual rally for life received media coverage with the West Australian and talkback radio stations picking up Mr Abetz’s ultrasound proposal.