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Professor Neil Rees & Commissioners,

Victorian Law Reform Commission,

GPO Box 4637,

Melbourne 300l


Dear Professor Rees & Commissioners,


  Thank you for giving us the opportunity to make a submission on the reform of Victorian abortion law. Endeavour Forum Inc. is a pro-life women's organisation which has representatives in all Australian states and links with similar groups overseas. As an NGO we have special consultative status with the Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, and in this capacity besides being Observers at UN meetings, we regularly hold NGO workshops on women's issues in conjunction with the UN's Commission on the Status of Women meetings in New York each year. It should be noted that Victoria would be in breach of several UN Treaties, Conventions and Declarations if abortion is decriminalised. See article from Kairos, enclosure A. Our detailed response to your Discussion Questions follows.


l. The ethical and legal principles that should inform the law of abortion in Victoria are that the taking of an innocent human life is always wrong, and the law should reflect this. A hundred years from now you surely do not want to be remembered, like the infamous Dred Scott decision on slavery in the USA, as an infamous Commission which said it  was acceptable to kill babies in utero. Abortion  should not be decriminalised because this enables people to think it is just a medical procedure rather than the killing of a tiny baby. One of the reasons for your Inquiry is that the law relating to abortion has not been considered by the Victorian Supreme Court for nearly 40 years. In those 40 years there have been tremendous scientific and medical advances.


 l. (a) The scientific advances in ultrasound technology now show clearly that the developing fetus  in the womb is a small human being capable of sucking its thumb and moving its limbs, not a clump of cells or blob of tissue or  "menstrual clot" as abortion proponents dishonestly claimed - until ultrasound blew apart their lies. The word "fetus" means 'young one' and primarily relates to the baby's habitat (i.e. in utero) and not its status as if it were some other kind of tissue different to a baby. "Fetus" is a baby in the womb.   We have heard from many women mourning the loss of their babies and saying how the abortionists and/or their staff told them that what would be vacuumed out of their wombs was just "the products of conception" and not a small baby.  I have had eight babies and I shop near a train station. Often when the train driver blew a siren, the baby in my womb would jump - and I would think, "this baby can hear". A lump of tissue cannot hear, so let us have some truth in this discussion.  There are many videos, DVDs and websites available showing human life in the womb.  What the Victorian Government is proposing in its terms of reference is that the present level of 20,000 abortions (i.e. killing of fetuses) each year, mostly of healthy mothers and healthy babies, should not increase but should continue at the same level.  This is totally unacceptable.


1. (b) There has been so much medical progress in the past 40 years that the medical indications for termination of pregnancy,  if there ever were any, have all but vanished.  In my own country of birth, India, tuberculosis was considered a hazard in pregnancy, but interestingly I came across an example from Canada where the developing fetus apparently saved the life of its mother who had TB, (See enclosure B "Monuments to a Miracle").  In any case TB can now be successfully treated and is not a problem in Victoria.  More recently, there have been cases where the stem cells from the babies'  cord blood have helped save the lives of their mothers who were suffering from blood cancers, so far from being a health hazard, pregnancy, where there is adequate food and medical services, can often be beneficial for mothers, especially in reducing the risk of breast cancer. See enclosures C (Endeavour Forum Inc. paper distributed at UN conferences and NGO meetings available in several languages) D (booklet on Breast Cancer Risks & Prevention),  E (leaflet, "Why Aren't Women being Told") and F (DVD of "Abortion Breast Cancer Link"). One of the NGO workshops we regularly hold at the UN in New York is on the link between abortion and breast cancer. There has been a devastating increase in the incidence of breast cancer, especially among younger women. In Australia the incidence has risen from one in eleven to one in eight women. The Cancer Councils have no explanation.


l. (c)   In the few cases where pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure or kidney disease may suggest the termination of the pregnancy, these usually occur in the late second or  third trimester when the baby is viable, and the pregnancy can be terminated by inducing birth, i.e. termination by a method that does not injure the fetus. I had personal experience of this with my seventh pregnancy where my baby was affected by Rh problems, and my pregnancy was terminated by inducing his birth early so that he could have blood transfusions. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY AND AN ABORTION. The former does not necessarily involve the death of the fetus. The 20-weeks or more, it should be terminated by the induction of birth without the prior killing of the fetus. The baby should be given all the appropriate care as in any premature birth. This law could be named "Jessica's law",  in remembrance of baby Jessica in the Northern Territory who was aborted (purely for the career considerations of her mother who was in the army and would have been provided with adequate resources in any case) at 5 months gestation  and who died 80 minutes after birth, and Jessica in Victoria who was killed at 32 -weeks gestation  because she was (wrongly) suspected of "dwarfism". It should be noted that 20 weeks gestation is the stage at which a still-birth or miscarriage has to be recorded on the Births, Marriages and Deaths register, and the law on termination of pregnancy should be in line with this requirement.


 5. (b) Late second and third trimester abortions  cause pain to the fetus, and the methods used are  barbaric. See enclosure L, "Partial-Birth Abortion, what nurse Brenda Shafer saw".


6. There is no point in time at which an abortion becomes acceptable. With advances in medicine in saving the lives of premature infants, prenatal surgery and other prenatal interventions such as blood transfusions, and developments in preserving the life of embryos, the boundaries are being pushed back all the time. Babies of as little as 23 weeks gestation now survive, and at the other end, embryos may be nurtured in test tubes for several days, so the time when a womb is required for gestation is decreasing. The ethical and scientific fact is that those living in utero (and the ones in test tubes) are human beings and it is never acceptable to terminate their lives. Today babies of 23 weeks gestation survive, 40 years from now who knows how early they will be able to survive outside utero?


7. The role of medical practitioners should be in monitoring whether the mother's life is genuinely in danger, and two doctors, one of whom is an obstetrician but not an abortion provider should be  required to determine whether a termination is necessary. Such situations, though rare, arise in the late second and third trimesters of pregnancy when the fetus is viable, so a neo-natal pediatrician should attend the birth and provide all appropriate care for the  premature baby.  The doctor who refers and/or performs a termination should certainly be required to notify the Health Department  and other monitoring body why he believed the woman's life to be in danger. Such terminations should be performed with procedures which do not kill the fetus - see 5 above.


8. If the mother's life really is in danger,  she should have the final say. Some mothers are willing to sacrifice their lives, e.g. postpone cancer treatment, to give their babies the best chance of survival, e.g Dr. Ellice Hammond. If the mother is unconscious, it should be a joint decision between her husband or next of kin and her doctor.


9. As stated in 1 above, Endeavour Forum Inc. holds that termination should only be lawful if the mother's life really is in danger. In these situations there may not be time for counselling; however if  Victoria is going to allow abortions for other reasons, these should be conditional upon attendance at counselling and information sessions. Counselling should provide information on all the options and services available to her, e.g. adoption, accommodation, help with education and career paths. Information should include pictures of fetal development, films of the  ultrasound of her own baby and information on the harmful consequences to her if she has an abortion. Enclosed are 8 articles from David Reardon of the Elliott Institute, USA (www.afterabortion.org) dealing with the damaging effects of abortion. Enclosure M "Women Want to Know about Abortion Risks, Survey Reveals",  enclosure N "A List of Major Psychological Sequelae of Abortion",  enclosure O "A List of Major Physical Sequelae Related to Abortion", enclosure P "Women at Risk of Post abortion Trauma", enclosure Q "The After effects of Abortion", enclosure R "Abortion is Four times Deadlier than Childbirth", and enclosure S "Abortion May Increase Women's Mortality Rate". There is also the recent study from Fergusson et al in New Zealand showing that women who have abortions are more prone to psychological problems: David M. Fergusson, L. John Horwood, and Elizabeth M. Ridder, "Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health," Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47(1): 16-24, 2006.


Enclosure T is the c.v. of Charles Francis, AM, QC, RFD, who has acted for many women hurt by abortion.


Enclosure U is the c.v. of Babette Francis, National & Overseas Co-ordinator of Endeavour Forum Inc.


10. Yes, the law should state that no medical practitioner, anaesthetist or ancilliary staff or hospital should be

required to perform, assist or be involved in a termination unless the mother's life is at risk.


11. The offence of Child Destruction should apply from 20 weeks gestation. See 5 and 7 above.


12. The law should clearly state that abortion is illegal except to save the life of the mother, and that any such termination - which usually occurs in the late second or third trimester should be performed to give the unborn baby the chance of survival, with a neo-natal pediatrician in attendance. (See 5 and 7 above).


13. Endeavour Forum Inc. wishes to point out that there is a great deal of obfuscation in the debate about abortion. No TV station or newspaper will show explicit pictures or descriptions of what exactly happens to the fetus during an abortion. The excuse is that such pictures will be too distressing for the public. Well the reality of abortion is even more distressing for the fetus. One of my favourite programmes is Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) which shows and describes quite explicit surgical procedures on real people, not actors. If such a programme showed and described an abortion, e.g. "now the abortionist is pulling off the leg of the fetus, here comes the head, the skull is being crushed so that it passes easily, and now nurse Ghoulish is counting the body parts so that we know we have got it all and there are no bits and pieces left inside Mum" - the abortion debate would soon be over.


Endeavour Forum Inc. is holding a public meeting on "The trauma of abortion" on 22nd October with Brita Stream, Miss Oregon 2002 as the keynote speaker. (See above, enclosure F, DVD on the abortion-breast cancer link). You are all cordially invited to attend. Enclosure V is the notice of this meeting.


Enclosure W is a video, "The Silent Scream" about a second trimester abortion, produced  by former abortionist, Dr.

Bernard Nathanson, who performed 60,000 abortions before he had a change of heart. If the Victorian Law Reform Commissioners are pro-choice, we hope you will have a change of heart too. There is no ethical choice about the killing of small human beings.


Yours sincerely,

Babette Francis

National & Overseas Co-ordinator


Notes by Charles Francis, AM, QC, on consultation with Victorian Law Reform Commission

My c.v. is supplied. This c.v. indicates I am one of the few people in Victoria who is entirely independent of the abortion world and yet has a fairly close knowledge of it. Apart from those who work as abortion providers, I am one of the few people who has worked at the coal face. This is probably one of the reasons I have so often been asked to lecture on abortion or to write articles for publication.


My first case was “Ellen’s Case”. It gave me first hand knowledge of the psychological damage which can be done to a woman by an abortion. I am tendering an article by Andrew Bolt on Ellen’s case (Herald Sun, 28/9/98) It very accurately described what occurred. Ellen’s story is an extremely common one amongst women who have had abortions. Her abortion proved to be entirely unnecessary and soon after her abortion she had another child to replace the child she had lost by abortion. The “replacement child” is a very common phenomenon. About half the women for whom I acted or who I advised had “replacement children”.


Fundamental to this inquiry is the need for the Law Reform Commission to decide what it wants to do. Does it merely want to legalise abortion in Victoria as the Terms of Reference seem to infer should be done or does it want to make a Report on what the law should be in the best interests of all Victorians and, in particular, its women?


The Terms of Reference given to the Commission appear to me to be most unsatisfactory. The existing operation of the law requires no clarification. Everyone knows that if a woman wants to obtain an abortion, all she has to do is go to an abortion provider or a public hospital like the Royal Women’s Hospital, and she can have her pregnancy terminated and neither she nor the abortion provider run any risk of prosecution. The Menhennitt Ruling is very clear in its terms and is very easily understood. To suggest medical practitioners have difficulty in understanding the relevant law is nonsense. Many thousands of abortions are performed in Victoria each year which would not be legal under Menhennitt. Often the medical records are falsified so that it appears the termination was lawful. These abortions are performed for social or economic reasons. The solution to social or economic problems should not lie with the abortion provider but should rest with the State. The State needs to provide social welfare which ensures every pregnant woman has adequate support. We are a wealthy state and have sufficient resources to do that.


At present no adequate controls are exercised over abortion providers by the State or by the medical profession itself. The vast majority of abortion providers are in it solely for the easy money which can be made. If the relevant offences are removed from the Crimes Act, the last vestige of control will disappear. Under B of Term 2 the Commission is asked to have regard to existing practices in Victoria, but from whom is this information to come? The people best informed on abortion practices are the abortion providers themselves, but they are most unlikely to tell the Commission the real truth. An article by me in the National Observer (March 2005) gives a picture of our present medical standards and some of the resulting problems.


Under 2C the Victorian Government asserts it has a commitment to modernise the law, but much of our law requires no modernisation. In one respect Menhennitt has not kept abreast with modern medical knowledge. If it is to be modernised it should be pointed out that medical practitioners can no longer believe on reasonable grounds that the abortion is necessary to preserve the woman from a serious danger to her mental health. There is now abundant evidence that any abortion is likely to cause a further deterioration in her mental health. For example she is far more likely to commit suicide. If the Law Reform Commission wants to do what is in the best interests of the State of  Victoria and its women, then the terms of reference need to be substantially widened.


Probably about 50% of the abortions in Victoria are not the woman’s own choice. That abortion is not necessarily the choice of the woman herself is becoming increasingly recognized, especially in the United States, where seven states now have anti-coercion legislation. It is important to note that research done by the Elliot Institute indicates that 64% of women surveyed felt pressurised by others. I tender the Bill to be introduced into the Wisconsin Assembly designed to deal with this problem of coercion.......





Member Organisation, World Council for Life and Family

NGO in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the UN