The following is an edited version of the speech delivered by Dwight A. Randall at the eleventh Annual Rally for Life at Parliament House on 21 May 2009.
On behalf of the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life, and the many different organisations that the coalition represents, I welcome you to the eleventh Annual Rally for Life.
Eleven years ago next Tuesday (26 May 1998), the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Bill 1998 passed into law. It is a brutal law that robs unborn children of protection. Since then some 90,000 unborn children have been lawfully killed.
Where would these 90,000 children be today, if they had not been killed? Eight thousand of them would have been in year five attending classes at primary schools scattered across this state. Another 8,000 would have been in year four, another 8,000 in year three, another 8,000 in year two, another 8,000 in year one, and another 8,000 in kindergarten. Thirty-six thousand of these children would have been too young to attend school and instead would have been laughing and playing at home, and 6,000 would have been developing at an astounding rate within their mother’s wombs. Ninety thousand in total! Ninety thousand killed over eleven years with state sanction! What a terrible loss!
When the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Bill 1998 came into effect we solemnly pledged that we would never forget these unborn children. That is a promise that we have kept each year for the past eleven years. With God’s help, we will continue to keep the promise until this state’s heartless abortion laws are reversed and unborn children are once again protected by law.
But after eleven years it would be easy to become complacent. It would be easy to conclude that our protest is having little impact, and that this great battle to save unborn children cannot be won.
Some people, even good people, no longer seem to be troubled by this issue. They argue that there are other more important and pressing concerns. Others have become discouraged and seem to think that our abortion laws cannot be reversed. But, my friends, we should never give up.
I am reminded of the perseverance of a young man whose life and achievements we celebrated recently. This young man was deeply discouraged one night in the early 1790s after another defeat in his ten year battle against the slave trade in England. Tired and frustrated, he opened his Bible and began to leaf through it. A small piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the floor. It was a letter by John Wesley, written shortly before his death. William Wilberforce read it again:
Unless the divine power has raised you up … I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of welldoing. Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might [emphasis mine].
I ask myself: What is the greatest scandal of religion today? Is it not the silence of many of our church leaders to the killing of thousands of our children each year?
What is the greatest scandal of Australia? Is it not that we would deprive our nation’s unborn children of the most basic right, the right to life?
What is the scandal of human nature? Is it not that we would refuse to love even our own children, and instead destroy them for reasons of convenience and selfishness?
Just as William Wilberforce stood against slavery until it was finally abolished, so we must continue to speak out against abortion until laws are reinstated that protect the unborn.
We must never accept the proposition that evil is more powerful than good; that brutality can overcome compassion; that lies can prevail against truth; or that convenience and selfishness are more powerful than servanthood and love. Love is “patient”, love is “kind”. Love is the greatest force on earth. And ultimately, love will prevail.
And it is not as though we are devoid of encouraging signs. A new Gallup Poll, conducted in the United States in early May, found that 51 per cent of Americans now view themselves as “prolife” on the issue of abortion while 42 per cent view themselves as “prochoice.” This is the first time a majority of American adults have identified themselves as prolife since Gallup first asked this question in 1995.
The same survey documents changes in public views about the legality of abortion. In answer to a question providing three options on the extent to which abortion should be legal, slightly more Americans now say abortion should be illegal in all circumstances (23 per cent) than say it should be legal under any circumstances (22 per cent).
This shift toward a prolife position is confirmed in two other recent surveys as well.
The same shift can take place in Western Australia. Public attitudes can and will change if we continue to speak in defence of the unborn and to communicate the physical, emotional and spiritual harm that abortion does to women. There was a time in Australia when abortion was thought of as being abhorrent by the majority of its citizens. This attitude can return if only, like Wilberforce, we persevere in speaking the truth with love.
Today, we are assembled to remember the 90,000 unborn children who have been deprived of life under this state’s brutal legislation that was passed eleven years ago. We pledge never to forget these innocent children who were forsaken by this parliament.
The keynote speaker at the rally was Rev Ron Nugent, retired Presbyterian minister and member of Life Ministries’ board.
Three newly elected MPs also spoke at the rally, those being Peter Abetz, Bill Johnston and Ian Britza. Also in attendance at the rally were newly elected MLCs Nick Goiran and Helen Bullock. Retiring MLCs Barbara Scott and Nick Griffiths also spoke at the rally and were farewelled. Several other serving prolife MPs took the opportunity to speak to the gathering as well.