Rally held for abortion bill

RELATED: Late abortion a medical issue

GIPPSLANDERS joined with hundreds of Victorians on the steps of Parliament House on Saturday in a peaceful rally to support the Infant Viability Bill.

The bill, introduced by Democratic Labour Party MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins, will be debated in the upper house on Wednesday. It seeks to ban late-term abortion except in medical emergencies, administer medical treatment to save the lives of babies born after failed abortions and provide holistic care for women in crisis pregnancy so abortion isn’t presented as their only option.

Local pro-life advocate Heidi McIvor was master of ceremonies at the rally.

“This was an historic moment as Victorians rallied around our first chance in almost a decade to roll back extreme elements of our abortion laws,” Mrs McIvor said.

“Public support for this bill is enormous. As well as the rally we have had petitions containing more than 45,000 handwritten signatures tabled in parliament – one of the largest responses in Victoria’s history.”

Mrs McIvor said most Victorians were unaware that abortion was legal up until the moment of birth, including partial birth abortion.

“Every day people instinctively believe pregnancy involves bringing another human life into the world and the closer that baby comes to being born, the more uncomfortable people feel about abortion,” Mrs McIvor said.

“A recent Galaxy Poll also showed 64 per cent of Victorians were opposed to late term abortion.

“If a foetus can survive being born at 24 weeks gestation, there is an expectation on Parliament to take this human life into consideration when legislating.

“Unfortunately our current laws don’t even recognise a baby born living and breathing as a human being with basic rights if it is the result of a failed abortion.

“This is one of the greatest human rights violations facing our state and this week, the Victorian parliament has the opportunity to correct it.”

Mrs McIvor said many Gippslanders were contacting Eastern Victoria Members of Parliament encouraging them to support the Infant Viability Bill.