Infant Viability Bill Rally

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Monday 23 May 2016

About 1500 supporters of the Infant Viability Bill, which is scheduled for debate among Victorian politicians this Wednesday, gathered on the steps of Parliament House on Saturday. They gathered in a peaceful, but powerful sign of solidarity for Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins, Upper House member for the Western Metropolitan region, who introduced the Infant Viability Bill in October last year.

Dr Carling-Jenkins addressed the crowd, as did pro-life Federal Senate candidate, Stephen Vereker, Victorian member of parliament Bernie Finn, and visiting American speaker and author of the book Persuasive Pro-Life, Trent Horn.

Dr Carling Jenkins pointed out that Victoria’s Infant Viability Bill is 20160521_Rally_FBasile_459the first attempt in Australia to challenge abortion laws in any state and seeks to remedy the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act of 2008, which allows abortion up to birth. Tasmania has since followed Victoria’s lead in permitting abortion up to birth, with Queensland headed in the same direction.

Dr Carling-Jenkins said, ‘The Bill aims to send a message, not just to Victorian parliamentarians, but to the wider national community, that abortion up to birth is not acceptable.’

The legislation seeks to prevent abortion after 24 weeks, given a baby is viable outside the womb from this time, and to provide holistic care for pregnant women. All infants born alive from the 24th week of pregnancy on-wards, including as the result of a medical emergency, must be cared for with the intent to save the infant’s life if at all possible. Women who are at least 24 weeks pregnant, who present in distress to their doctor must be offered practical support, for example a referral to a pregnancy support se20160521_Rally_FBasile_704rvice, which offers holistic care such as counseling, social and practical support.

It is intended that penalties will be introduced for physicians who breach the new laws, however, mothers will not be criminalised or face any penalties.

During her address, Dr Carling-Jenkins quoted Martin Luther King Junior who said: ‘Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about the things that matter.’ She vowed not to remain silent and urged her listeners to do the same. She challenged those in leadership to do the right thing. ‘They cannot say they don’t know’. Dr Carling-Jenkins will present and debate the bill on Wednesday afternoon. If passed, she said, ‘it will roll back the atrocious laws of the Abortion Law Reform Act of 2008’.

Federal Senate candidate Stephen Vereker praised Dr Carling-Jenkins for her brave initiative in introducing the Infant Viability Bill to the Victorian parliament. He called for leadership 20160521_Rally_FBasile_594on the issue of abortion in Australia and urged all those listening to place pro-life candidates at the top of their list on their ballot papers at the upcoming July Federal election.

Legislative Council member of the Victorian parliament, Bernie Finn, also spoke passionately, calling everyone to gather again on the steps of parliament on Wednesday when the Bill is being presented and debated to show support for Dr Carling-Jenkins and the unborn. Community members were urged to contact their local members of parliament ‘again, even if they’d already done so,’ to show their commitment to, and support for the Infant Viability Bill.

For more information on the Infant Viability Bill, click here.

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