Over recent years each of the Australian states has passed abortion laws designed to make the killing of the unborn even more accessible and acceptable. On Saturday 23 September there was a Walk for Life in Sydney’s Hyde Park which we hope will become an annual event and a testimony to the cause of life in this city. In the week leading up to the Walk, however, we were dismayed by news from Western Australia.

Back in November 2022 the then McGowan government announced the pressing need to ‘modernise’ Western Australia’s abortion laws. This, of course, is not very subtle code for liberalising them. What followed was the usual round of consultations – or the appearance thereof.

When the bill was presented to the Legislative Council (the Upper House), a number of amendments were moved. What is revealing is not just that these amendments were defeated, but how comprehensively they were defeated. No wonder the Psalmist was downcast at times! (e.g. Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5)

Abortions were to be allowed up to 23 weeks with just one doctor approving – and he could be the abortionist. An amendment to retain the old 20-week limit – as bad as that was – was defeated by 27 to 4. After 23 weeks two doctors are needed, but an amendment to require one of them to be an obstetrician or gynaecologist was defeated by 24 to 8. Two doctors could sign the death warrant for a child of 39 weeks.

We have laws prohibiting discrimination against those with disabilities, and a National Disability Insurance Scheme to parade our concern for the less fortunate amongst us, but the attempt to prohibit the aborting of babies with Down Syndrome was crushed, with only three out of the 28 MPs who voted, actually voting for it.

The story does not get any more inspiring. An amendment to prohibit abortions for reason of sex selection would, one might have hoped, aroused some female support, but no, this was defeated by 19 votes to 12. Even South Australia, the first state to open the abortion floodgates, has mandated that information about counselling – of whatever kind – must be offered to any woman contemplating an abortion. But WA defeated this amendment by 25 to 6.

The climax came when there was an amendment to mandate medical care for babies who are born alive after an abortion procedure has ‘gone wrong’ – an inconvenient complication from the perspective of the abortion industry. Official statistics are often as unreliable as unofficial statistics, especially when there is a progressive agenda at stake. Yet it is certain that a considerable number of aborted babies manage to be born alive. In Victoria from 2010 to 2020 there were 396 counted in that category, which is roughly one every fortnight. For Queensland the number was 328, while WA reported 27 for the years 1998 to 2017, which seems suspiciously low.

Whatever the case, an amendment to look after born-alive babies was defeated in the WA Legislative Council by 23 to 9. Babies who were unexpectedly born alive could be left in petri dishes to die. Florence Nightingale became known as ‘the lady with the lamp’. The lamp is going out all over the West. There is no right to life anymore; life is only cared for if it is wanted. Subjectivity and selfishness have replaced science and compassion. The rhetoric is maintained about looking after the vulnerable, but only as viewed through a progressive, not a Christian, lens.

William Tyndale’s desire was that ‘The most despised person in the realm ought to be treated as if he were the king’s brother.’ Our desire ought to be similar, that every unborn child be treated as one created in the image of the King over all, the living God.

– Peter Barnes