It would seem that the 'cart is before the horse' when it comes to abortion legislation and that some of our medical "experts" in Australia are just a little too passionate about late term abortion than the public are aware or likely to approve of.
One in particular, Dr Lachlan De Crespigny, has quite the abortion portfolio! Featured in media reports about late term abortion, his claims, research and practice have gone relatively unchallenged and have not been given the scrutiny required.
Dr. De Crespigny is perhaps best known for his involvement in the abortion of a 32 week old baby girl, Jessica Jane, that had suspected dwarfism. Endeavour Forums Babette Francis wrote
about how this late term (and illegal) abortion influenced the 2008 decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria.
To say that this case caused outrage from the community would be an understatement. Andrew Bolt's coverage of this story in the article 'We kill Babies'
has resulted in a surge within the pro life movement (including the beginning of LNA!).
Incredibly, some media outlets
now sympathise with Dr De Crespigny for the scrutiny he faced over the abortion of Jessica Jane (who "did not appear to be so small afterall")!
Many attribute the change of legislation in Victoria to the 'Jessica Jane' case - which became about the protection of doctors like Dr. De Crespigny, who perform late term abortions. It did not appear at all to be about the health and welfare of women and their babies (which was evident in the amendments
designed to offer women and babies at least some protection - that were all outrightly rejected by the Brumby government).
Dr De Crespigny's reach is not limitted to Australia. An article
by Michael Cook, (Oct, 2009, republished June, 2011) stated that in Britian, "studies have shown that about 92% of women who are told that their child will have Down syndrome go on to have a termination". In his writing in the blog of 'Oxford University's Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics', Lachlan de Crespigny says that "this is not a bad thing", although he "acknowledges that Down syndrome children often have sunny dispositions"!!
Dr De Crespigny stated that "Few people choose to have a Down syndrome child. It is hard to find adoptive parents for a DS child. Couples with a previous DS child usually have prenatal testing to minimize the risk of having another disabled child and they proceed to abortion of an affected fetus." He also said that "risk-free prenatal tests should be celebrated". Dr de Crespigny is described in the article, as "a distinguished Australian expert in prenatal testing".
While the notion of aborting babies with disabilities is abhorrent to many of us, it seems that Dr. De Crespigny and his colleague Prof Julian Savulescu may have used examples of terminal illnesses to justify all late term abortions to the public- even if many of these babies are, in fact, healthy.
In Australia, an article
by David van Gend reveals that Dr Lachlan De Crespigny made the claim that late term abortions are done "for major problems as a last resort", and they gave the example of an abnormality of a baby's heart. However, at the time that they made this claim, the data from the Health Department's 2005 survey of perinatal deaths revealed a very different story.
According to the Herald Sun, it showed that: ""The majority of late abortions were for psychosocial reasons, not fetal abnormality" and that "At 23-27 weeks
of pregnancy, when other premature babies are being cared for in the hospital nursery, the records for 2005 show that 108
healthy babies were terminated for psychosocial reasons, which is five times as many as those terminated for congenital abnormality."
Mr. van Gend said that "abortion for psychosocial reasons is by far the biggest single cause of "stillbirth" in Victoria" and that "In 2005, the deliberate ending of these healthy lives accounted for one in every three stillbirths".
He also asked the question: "Is late abortion merely a tragic response to grave fetal abnormality or risk to the mother's life?", then responded: "No. Late abortion is done for any reason that sufficiently stresses the parents and its numbers are climbing fast." Another Herald Sun article
reported that in 2005, 180
late term abortions were performed for 'psycho social' reasons.
The argument provided by Dr De Crespigny to convince the public, is inconsistent with state government statistics.
Louise Mulligan report
ed a 600% increase in late term abortions, at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, since the decriminalisation of abortion in 2008. Ms Mulligan consulted with Dr De -Crespigny and provided a comment from him in her report. Ms Mulligan repeated his earlier claim that the majority of these late term babies were aborted because they "were going to die anyway or have a devastating disability."
We do not have Victorian Department of Health's report to refute this information, but given the unreliability of this claim previously, it can certainly not be accepted 'as Gospel'.
Dr De Crespigny and Prof Julian Savulescu were also authors of a survey about late term abortion, the results of which were published by the Australian Medical Association
and in newspapers all around Australia. This research claimed that Australians support the decriminalisation of late term abortion. Life Network Australia critiqued
the survey, which raises many questions.
One might reasonably ask "Why do Dr. De Crespigny and Professor Prof Julian Savulescu appear to have such a vested interest in / passion for late term abortion?" This commitment (to abortion up until birth) is enough to send chills down ones spine - not unlike those I felt when watching 'Silence of the lambs'.
Then there are the babies being born alive
and left to die on shelves or thrown into a bucket of -formaldehyde
. Indeed this situation is playing out as quite a horror story! The rhetoric of "between a woman and her doctor" and "my body my choice" is grossly inadequate and inappropriate.
The Health Department's current report on infant mortalitity and morbidity was supposed to be released at the end of 2010. Given the 600% increase in late term abortions at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, we anticipate the information with dread. When asked about the delay, MP Bernie Finn said that the ALP government (who was in power at the time) did not want the public to know what has happened in Victoria.
We are awaiting greater transparency from the new Liberal Goverment of Victoria.
Life Network Australia has submitted an FOI request for this report and are currently pursuing the ombudsman to appeal the recent rejection (of the FOI request).
It would appear that medical experts and research that Australians depend on and trust are not objective, transparent or reliable when it comes to abortion.
The downward acceleration of abortion legislation
has resulted from a lack of transparency from health departments, research based on questionable surveys (by doctors seemingly 'hell bent' on late term abortion) and a media more than happy to publish their claims without any objective assessment.
Australian babies must be protected from such bias and incompetence - their lives depend on it!