Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Bill Sykes against abortion bill

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23 week aborted foetus survives five hours in hospital refrigerator

Miracle: 23 week aborted foetus survives after five hours in hospital refrigerator

On August 21, I wrote a post titled, “I’m against late term abortion” after reading of an Israeli woman’s aborted 23 week old foetus surviving after five hours in a hospital refrigerator.

Whilst it is argued that a woman has the right to determine what happens with her body, she also has the responsibility to prevent unwanted  pregnancy occurring in the first place.

In the above case, the abortion was carried out for the sake of the mother’s health and she was subsequently saved.  That does not automatically mean that the foetus must die.

Bill Sykes, State member for Benalla, has sent through a media alert stating that he is also against the bill, in it’s current form.

“Debate on the controversial Abortion Reform Bill went past midnight again last night as MPs debated in detail some of the more contentious aspects of the Bill.The debate was conducted in a mood of mutual respect with several members making heart rending presentations.

Tension did mount during debate on procedural matters with many members concerned that the Government was rushing debate on over 30 amendments which have been moved by five MPs – four of whom are Labor MPs.

I voted against the Bill in its original form because of what I perceived to be a number of deficiencies, in particular the failure to safeguard the interests of late term viable babies.

I then voted for a series of amendments which sought to overcome these deficiencies whilst not interfering with the intent of the Bill to decriminalise abortion which I support as a general principle.

I was disappointed with the Government’s push to force immediate debate on the numerous amendments in spite of it being clear that many MPs, including the Minister for Health and the Minister for Women’s Affairs did not fully understand the implications of several of the amendments.

This is not good law making when the Ministers charged with the responsibility for managing the debate on behalf of the Government appear intent on pursuing the passing of the Bill regardless of potentially very significant untended implications or oversights.

Aspects of the Bill which I feel are unsound include:

Failure to ban partial birth abortion; (I’ll comment privately on this if requested.)
Allowing the mother alone to decide the fate of the unborn baby up to 24 weeks gestation rather than limiting this power up until 20 weeks gestation (the current proposal requires after 24 weeks gestation that two doctors need to be consulted).

My concern here is based on the concept of threshold of viability with increasing numbers of babies born at less than 24 weeks being viable (albeit with a lot of assistance) and the inconsistency of the 24 week gestation with other legislation, in particular the Births, Deaths & Marriages Act which requires registration of all births from 20 weeks gestation onward.

I also abstained from voting on a couple of amendments because I felt that I had insufficient understanding of the amendments and their implications to make an appropriate decision – something that if given more time to consider I would be able to arrive at a clear position either supporting or opposing the amendment.

The debate will continue today and based on voting patterns so far, it is likely to be passed without amendment by the end of the day.

If the Bill continues to remain in its current form then I will oppose it at the final vote.”

Bill points out that the Nationals leader, Peter Ryan, is strongly opposed to the Bill per se whereas Sykes supports much of the intent of the Bill but shares many of Ryan’s concerns regarding the Bill in its current form.

The  … Abortion reform bill passed in Victorian lower house … today (12.09.08)

Written by Greg Naylor

12 September 2008 at 12:00 am

Posted in media release

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