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Senate Inquiry ‘Ignores’ Born Alive Evidence

by | Wed, Sep 6 2023

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University of Adelaide law professor Dr. Joanna Howe who made a submission to a Senate inquiry into the issue of babies born alive after an abortion, says she is shocked by its report which was released last week.

Dr. Howe notes it fails to acknowledge the plight of those babies and makes no recommendations for the passage of the Human Rights (Children Born Alive) Protection Bill 2022, commonly referred to as the Born Alive Bill.

The bill: clarifies that children born alive are persons; requires health practitioners to provide medical care, treatment and statistics on children born alive as a result of terminations; and provides that the mother of a child born alive is not liable to prosecution for an offence in respect of that child.

Dr. Howe writes in the Canberra Declaration’s Daily Declaration that: “The Senate report into the issue of babies born alive after failed abortions has whitewashed the issue, relying on the evidence of abortion providers and abortion advocates to reach its conclusion.”

Her submission to the inquiry detailed hundreds of cases of babies left to die following an abortion procedure. It said that despite reporting requirements varying between states and territories, information gleaned from coroner’s reports and the media showed that 328 children were born alive post-abortion in Queensland and 396 children in Victoria, over the 10 years from 2010 to 2020.

“Alongside others, I presented oral evidence to the Senate Committee in June and clearly established the evidence that every week in Australia a child is born alive after a failed abortion and left to die without a legal right to care,” Dr. Howe stated.

In her evidence to the inquiry she shared two coronial reports with the committee of babies who died, one who survived for 80 minutes without care. She also shared case studies of two Down Syndrome babies, one of whom survived after being given care.

“None of this evidence was cited in the majority report by the Senate Committee and instead they chose to highlight the evidence of abortion providers and other pro-abortion groups.”

“Chair of the Community Affairs Legislation Committee Senator Marielle Smith and the other five Senators did not even reference the known and reported cases of babies born alive and left to die after failed abortions or any scholarly evidence on the issue.”

Dr. Howe vowed to continue fighting for the passage of the Born Alive Bill. She will also continue campaigning to change what she considers Australia’s ‘extreme’ abortion laws, arguing most Australians would be “appalled by the broad legality of late-term abortion”.