Seven hundred people participated in the 16th Annual Walk and Rally for Life on Tuesday evening, 10th June. Defying bitter cold and threats of rain, they assembled at Kings Park overlooking the city of Perth to join in prayers for an end to abortion in Western Australia.
The evening commenced with introductory comments from Dwight Randall, President of the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life, followed by a Scripture reading and prayers for the city and the state. Dwight said:
Thank you for joining in union with us to remember the 134,000 unborn children who have been deprived of life in Western Australia since abortion was legalised in 1998.
Many of the mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grand-fathers, brothers and sisters of these little ones carry the hurts and wounds of this destruction of human life.
We too grieve, and are eager to bring this matter before God and implore him to rekindle the value of every human life into all Western Australians, and into our parliament, that it might amend the laws to once again protect the innocent and defenceless.
Warner Spyker read from I Timothy 2:1-4:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
After the reading, Rev Stephen ‘tHart, led the gathering in prayer for those in authority:
Almighty God and Sovereign Lord, in your wisdom you have given authority for governing nations and states to men and women made in your likeness but wounded by sin. Following the injunction of Holy Scripture we pray for those in authority in our State of Western Australia.
We pray for each member of the Parliament of Western Australia that together they would have the wisdom and the courage to repeal the wicked laws that permit and approve the killing of children before birth by abortion and would restore laws that protect every innocent human life.
We pray for the Premier, the Minister for Health and all the ministers that they would take leadership in governing this State for the wellbeing of all who live here including unborn children.
We thank you for those members of Parliament who have courageously spoken and acted in defence of human life. We humbly ask you to continue to give them wisdom and perseverance to defend the cause of life.
We pray that each member of the Parliament of Western Australia may recognise that their authority to rule comes from you, and is to be exercised according to your will and to your glory.
We make these prayers trusting in your mercy and for the advancement of your glory through your Son and our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Then, Gary Kleyn prayed for a culture of life and an end to abortion:
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 sixteen 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 134,000 babies who have been sacrificed to the gods of convenience and material-ism; 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 every-thing 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.
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.
After that, Pastor Wayne Hollett led in prayer for the Christian Church:
Almighty God, we ask you to send your Holy Spirit on the church throughout this state of Western Australia and to raise it up as a great voice in defence of human life.
You have entrusted the church with the good news of the gospel that every man and woman is made in your image and likeness and is so loved by you that you gave your only begotten Son up to death on the cross for our sake.
We repent of our silence in the face of the massive assault on the lives of unborn children. We ask you to give us the words to speak in defence of human life.
Lord Jesus Christ you took a child in your arms and said, ‘Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me’ (Mark 9:7).
Equip your church to do everything necessary to ensure that every unborn child finds a welcome in our community.
Help us to encourage one another in this great endeavour so that we never flag in zeal and run the race to the end. Amen.
Michelle Macormic prayed for women and men faced with a crisis pregnancy:
Dearest Heavenly Father, we ask you tonight to move in the hearts and minds of all pregnant women. Please remove their fears and grow in them a spirit of love, confidence and hope. We ask you to please strengthen in each woman a desire to protect and nourish the child she carries. Please pour out your grace and kindness so that each may choose to embrace the gift of motherhood.
Father, we also ask you to revive in the men of our state a true nobility of spirit so that they will rise up to protect and take responsibility for their children. Awaken their consciences, calm their fears and provide the resources they need to care for the children they have helped to create.
Please help anyone who is considering or being pushed towards abortion to find the help they need to choose life for themselves and for their babies. Please help all those who have already experienced abortion to find forgiveness, healing and peace.
Dear Father, bless the work of all the individuals and organisations who are actively reaching out to these vulnerable women and couples. Give them the grace and wisdom they need to offer a listening ear, practical help, genuine hope and healing. Please send more workers and more financial resources so that their work can grow until every woman and couple who is facing an untimely pregnancy or hurting after an abortion finds the life-affirming help they need.
Heavenly Father we thank you for each woman who chooses life for her child. We thank you for each father who rises up. We thank you for each baby safely born. We thank you for each person who finds healing after abortion. We thank you for every family who has been helped and blessed in your Name.
Through the endless love, grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray.
The prayers were concluded by Fr Andre Feain who led the gathering in a blessing for all unborn children:
May Almighty God, who has created new life now bless every unborn child in the womb throughout Western Australia.
The Lord has created the joy of motherhood: may he now bless all women in Western Australia who are with child with a safe and healthy pregnancy.
We thank the Lord today for the gift of these unborn children: may he bring them and their mothers and fathers one day to share in the unending joys of heaven.
May God bless us all as we welcome the gift of new life and joyfully accept the responsibility of sharing in the care and spiritual formation of these children. Amen.
At the conclusion of the prayers, the crowd walked quietly along Fraser Avenue to Parliament House. Some held signs declaring “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart”, “Abortion Kills Children”, and “Jesus Heals and Forgives”.
At Parliament House, Dwight Randall addressed the gathering. He said:
Sixteen years ago on 26th May, 1998, the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Bill 1998 passed into law. Since that time many bills have been debated and passed into law by this parliament, but without a doubt the most evil and most brutal piece of legislation that ever passed through the corridors of this parliament, was the bill that deprived unborn children of protection while developing in their mother’s wombs. Since 26 May 1998, over 134,000 unborn children have been legally killed by abortion in this state.
The eldest of these children would now be starting to look and act like young adults. The boys would be shooting up in height and looking like young men, while the girls would be filling out and looking like young women.
But, there would also be tens of thousands of other children in our state’s high schools, tens of thousands in our primary schools, thousands beginning their education in pre-schools and kindergartens, thousands playing with other children in their homes, thousands enjoying the comfort and security of their mother’s arms, thousands diligently tracking the faces of those who hold them and quickly learning to smile and laugh, and thousands in a complete state of dependency being lovingly cared for by parents meeting their every need.
Our parliament, forsook its duty, and failed to protect every one of these 134,000 children. It produced a merciless law that stripped legal protection from every single one of these defenceless children, and instead granted the lawful right to doctors to kill them — doctors who should never be about the business of taking human life, but preserving it.
Tonight we want to remember each of these children. We grieve that they are not part of our families and community.
In addition, we mourn for the tens-of-thousands of women who have been harmed by abortion, some of whom may be with us tonight. We mourn for them, regardless of whether it was their choice, made easier by the passage of the legislation, or whether they were encouraged by professionals to abort, 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 these 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…
After the minute of silence, Dwight continued:
I mentioned a moment ago that since 1998 over 134,000 unborn children have been deprived of life with the sanction of this parliament.
This number includes over 600 unborn babies killed at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later—some as late as 34 weeks—who had they been delivered could and most likely would have survived—but who were killed all because they were diagnosed with a disability such as Down’s syndrome, spina bifida or dwarfism.
These abortions for disability are particularly evil in two specific ways:
Firstly, because like with every abortion, an innocent unborn child is deprived of life, the very most precious gift of all;
Secondly, because aborting disabled children is blatantly discriminatory. It says to the child, and by inference to all of the people living in the community with a disability—because you are intellectually or physically disabled your life is not valued—you are not welcome to live among us—your life is disposable—we are better off without you.
At this rally tonight, while we will be remembering all children killed by abortion and committing ourselves to fight to end all abortions, we intend to focus in a particular way on putting an end to abortions for disability.
We gather tonight to remember all of the unborn children that have been killed with the sanction of this state since 1998, but more particularly, to plead with our parliament to tighten the law in respect to late term abortions for disability, under which 600 post 20 week children have been killed—many in the third trimester of pregnancy—for disabilities which are not incompatible with life.
Prior to several Members of Parliament speaking, the gathering heard stories from people living with a disability.
Peter Rowley, who has spina bifida, talked about the love he received from his parents, shared some of his life experiences, and spoke about how he is now caring for his elderly parents.
Michelle Pearse read a delightful story about a joyous life written by 21 year old Caroline Crawford, a young woman with Down’s syndrome.
Alan Stevens shared from his heart about his two children with Fragile X syndrome.
Andrew Lansdown, writer and editor for Life Ministries, read two poems, the first written by himself, and the second by Les Murray:
Reaction to a Retard
Disgusting, really, the way it disfigures
the face—a lack of intelligence. The retard
on the ferry has nothing going for him
except his mother, who gives him a regard
I struggle to comprehend. I hear a quick
voice cry, Better to kill him before birth!
I look at him and shudder at my own depravity.
How easy it is to deny a person worth—
to limit the human, which is the image
of God, to the beautiful and clever,
and to forget there is in every person
a spark, a spirit, that abides for ever.
There is a worse disorder than the damaged
brain that disfigures the blameless face.
It is the derangement of the cogent mind
that deforms the heart by a denial of grace.
— Andrew Lansdown ©
Dog Fox Field
The test for feeblemindedness was, they had to make up a sentence using the words dog, fox and field. Judgement at Nuremberg
These were no leaders, but they were first
into the dark on Dog Fox Field:
Anna who rocked her head, and Paul
who grew big and yet giggled small,
Irma who looked Chinese, and Hans
who knew his world as a fox knows a field.
Hunted with needles, exposed, unfed,
this time in their thousands they bore sad cuts
for having gazed, and shuffled, and failed
to field the lore of prey and hound
they then had to thump and cry in the vans
that ran while stopped in Dog Fox Field.
Our sentries, whose holocaust does not end,
they show us when we cross into Dog Fox Field.
— Les Murray ©
The keynote speaker at the rally was the Hon Nick Goiran, MLC.
He spoke passionately about the need to tighten the law for late term abortions under which 600 children over 20 weeks gestation have been killed despite having disabilities that are not incompatible with life. He referred to aborted children who would have been happier than himself (Down’s syndrome), whose backs were less straight than his (spina bifida), and who would have been shorter than he is (dwarfism).
Nick encouraged people to sign an open letter that was being circulated to the gathering (included with this magazine) to Premier the Hon Colin Barnett, MLA, urging him to change the law to stop the discriminatory practice of late term abortion) for children with non-lethal disabilities.
(Four days after the rally, on 14thJune 2014, the Hon Nick Goiran delivered a speech on this topic to the Legislative Council. His speech, Shedding a light on late term abortions is included in this edition of Life News.)
Other speakers included the Hon Michelle Roberts, MLA, Dr Graham Jacobs MLA, Margaret Quirk MLA, and Peter Abetz MLA.
Several other MPs attended the rally but did not speak including Hon Kate Doust, MLA, Bill Johnson, MLA, Glenys Godfrey, MLA, Tony Krsticevic, MLA, Frank Alban, MLA, and Federal Senator elect Joe Bullock.
Apologies were received from Ian Britza MLA, Matt Taylor MLA, Hon Simon O’Brien, MLC, Jan Norberger, MLA, Hon Donna Faragher, MLC, Sean L’Estrange, MLA, Hon Ken Baston, MLC, Hon Rick Mazza, MLC, Mick Murray, MLA, and Dr Kim Hames, MLA, Minister for Health.