We have sacrificed a lot to protect life over the past year. We shut down shops and schools, we have closed our borders and it remains illegal to leave Australia without permission.
I have been pleasantly surprised by how willing Australians have been to protect life even when the costs have been large and those who were most at risk of coronavirus, elderly Australians, only made up a small share of our overall population.
Not only did we ‘flatten the curve’, we have all but eliminated coronavirus as a major threat in Australia to date.
However, there are other lives that we have not offered the same protections. Unborn lives do not seem to matter as much.
In 2018, the Queensland government decriminalised abortions up to the point of birth. Since then, abortions have risen by 58 per cent. We are not flattening the curve on abortion rates.
The Queensland law now says that “a medical practitioner may perform a termination on a woman who is more than 22 weeks pregnant”.
We know from the latest ultrasound technologies that at 22 weeks a baby clasps her hands, sucks her thumb, yawns, stretches, gets the hiccups, covers her ears to a loud sound and even smiles. At that age a baby can feel pain. Modern foetal surgery administers anaesthesia but there are no requirements for abortions to provide pain relief.
The decriminalisation of abortion has also given an implicit licence to practices that most would see as abhorrent. Earlier this year an IVF doctor, David Molloy, revealed that some of his patients had admitted to terminating a pregnancy when a test indicated their baby was of the ‘wrong sex’.
And in some Melbourne suburbs, where abortion has also been recently decriminalised, more than 120 boys are now born for every 100 girls. The normal ratio is 105 to 100. As Dr Kristina Edvardsson from La Trobe University concluded that “some women may be terminating pregnancies after discovering they are expecting a girl”.
We should make it clear that no one should terminate a pregnancy to select the sex of their child. A few years ago, former Senator John Madigan, put forward a bill that would make it clear that no Medicare funds should be provided to anyone terminating a pregnancy or an abortion based on sex.
While such a law would be difficult to enforce, we should have a law written in black and white that outlaws such an abhorrent practice. At the March for Life rally in Brisbane on Saturday, I announced that I would re-introduce Senator John Madigan’s bill to outlaw any funding for sex-selection abortions.
We do what we can to protect the lives of all Australians. To protect life is also why I argued that we should help Australians return from Covid ravaged India. I understand that many want to keep coronavirus out at all costs.
But if Australian mateship is to mean anything, it should mean that we help our mates out when they are in desperate need. Yes taking Australians from India would create a risk for us. But if you are not willing to sacrifice anything for a mate, you’re not really a mate.
The government has announced that it will restart flights from India for returning Australians to return by May 15 which is welcome news. Protecting lives from the coronavirus is important but they are not the only lives at risk and we should do all we can to live by the slogan that all lives matter, including the unborn.