Aborted babies ‘being left to die’
October 7, 2010
BABIES that are surviving late-term abortions at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital might be being left on shelves to die, according to an Anglican minister.
Dr Mark Durie, minister of St Mary’s Caulfield, said staff were finding it hard to cope with a reported six-fold increase in late-term abortions at the Women’s since abortion was decriminalised in Victoria two years ago. He said because conscientious objection by medical staff was now illegal, the hospital could employ only people who endorsed late-term abortions.
Dr Durie is bringing a motion about late-term abortion to the annual Anglican synod, which opened in Melbourne last night.
He calls on the state government to answer five questions about late-term abortions:
■ How many are happening, and how late?
■ What are the reasons for the abortions?
■ Are those born alive receiving medical care, or what is their cause of death?
■ What has been the effect on staff morale at the Royal Women’s Hospital?
■ What has been the effect on staff recruitment?
He said in one case – not at the Women’s – a trainee was deeply traumatised when she was told to drop a living foetus in a bucket of formaldehyde.
Dr Durie said even in 2007, 52 babies survived late-term abortions, according to government figures. In some clinics they had simply been put on a shelf and left to die, and the public deserved to know what was happening now.
He said no figures had been officially released since abortion was decriminalised.
”Because of the deep ethical conflict involved, there will be pressure to suppress the reality of what is going on,” he said.
”I’m deeply concerned for the traumatising effect it has on doctors and nurses.”
Dr Durie said most people became midwives because they loved seeing children born. ”I find it hard to comprehend that staff can go from working to rescue a 27-week-old foetus in one hour, and the next hour delivering another one dead.”
The Anglican diocese of Melbourne backed decriminalising abortion in its submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission review in 2007. Archdeacon Alison Taylor told The Age at the time that in some circumstances, such as foetal abnormality, abortion was the ”the least problematic solution”.
Health Department spokesman Bram Alexander said it was the job of the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity to monitor trends and data, and its 2008 report would be released before the end of 2010.
”There’s no sense that the material is being suppressed,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Women’s Hospital said she would not comment, except to say that no staff were ever required to perform or assist in any procedure contrary to their own conscience or beliefs.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier told the synod last night that the Anglican church had to become more multicultural.
After a year of intensive consultation, he unveiled a vision for the diocese based on seeing its 210 parishes not as churches or congregations but a geographic mission field.
”We need to be aware of the entirety of our parish, the diversity of its people, the industry and commerce which takes place within it, and the collaborators who might work with us in evangelism and compassionate service,” he said.