George Christensen, the Liberal National Party member for Dawson, last week released a draft bill aimed at saving babies who are born alive during botched abortion procedures.

The Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Bill 2021 would require a medical practitioner to provide medical care to a child born alive during a late-term abortion, just as they are mandated to with any other newborn.

“I am asking my parliamentary colleagues, and in fact, our entire community to consider the painful question: ‘what happens to a child born alive during a late-term abortion?’” Christensen said. “The uncomfortable truth is that the child is left to die.”

The federal government’s current advice to medical practitioners faced with a baby born alive during an abortion is to “not offer treatment”. George Christensen rightly points out that this is a breach of two international agreements to which Australia is a signatory: the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The proposed legislation would penalise doctors with a fine of over $400,000 if they failed to provide appropriate care to a baby born alive during a failed abortion procedure. Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and Liberal senator James McGrath have offered their support for the bill.

George Christensen has provided a consistent pro-life voice to Australia’s federal parliament since his election in 2010.

The legacy media’s opposition to Christensen’s proposed bill was swift, shrill and predictable.

One online publication sought comment from Catriona Melville, the deputy medical director of Marie Stopes Australia (the Australian equivalent of Planned Parenthood), referring to her as a “leading abortion care expert”.

“It’s really nonsensical,” Melville said in reference to Christensen’s draft bill. “He’s proposing creating policy for a circumstance that by the nature of the procedure wouldn’t occur. It’s making noise without benefitting anybody involved in the process.”

Melville had ignored the other document released by Christensen: a summary of research from the Parliamentary Library which documents hundreds of known cases of Australian babies born alive during abortions.

Christensen’s bill clearly responds to a very real and pressing issue. It has the full support of the Canberra Declaration, and we will be providing updates on this legislation as it progresses.

[Photo by Ádám Szabó on Unsplash]