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The Australian Medical Association really should clarify its policy on dwarfs. Does it support dwarf tossing which I understand used to be a spectator sport in some pubs? Or does it just condone injecting potassium chloride into the hearts of unborn babies suspected of dwarfism? AMA dwarf policy goes to the heart (pardon the pun) of the court case between the Medical Practitioners Board and the Royal Women’s Hospital over the Hospital’s refusal to hand over records about the termination of the life of a 32-weeks-gestation fetus suspected of being a dwarf.

Only suspected of being a dwarf, mind you. We don’t really know whether she (we have heard it was a girl) really was a dwarf or just a small baby because the Hospital hasn’t yet released the records although ordered to do so by the Supreme Court and an Appeals Court. The reason the RWH gives is patient privacy - well no one wishes to invade the privacy of the hapless mother who surely deserved better help and counselling than she received - but we are concerned about a baby who was quite capable of being born alive. At 32-weeks gestation, this termination comes under the Child Destruction Act 1958 in the Victorian Criminal Code. It is not an issue about abortion, because the mother had to deliver her dead daughter anyway, but it is in the public interest to know how accurate the diagnosis of dwarfism was.

If she really wasn’t a dwarf, this baby surely couldn’t have cast an evil eye over the RWH, the AMA and the Royal Australian-New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists? In fact even if she was a dwarf, I doubt she could cast any evil spells over these august organisations - any more spells than they are already prone to, that is. Is it in the public interest for the AMA and RANZCOG to encourage such superstitions? Why was this dwarf baby “tossed” instead of being delivered alive and given to one of the many adoptive couples who lovingly take on the task of caring for handicapped children?

Concealment of records appears to be a syndrome suffered by public health officials not just in Australia but also in the US. In my column on 4 April 2006, I mentioned the the US Food and Drug Administration had stated there were two more deaths caused by the abortion drug, RU486. The FDA has now announced that only one of these deaths was associated with RU486, but it does not mention the cause of the other death. Nevertheless it was an abortion-related death, and confirms independent studies both in Finland and California that women who have abortions have a higher death rate within the next 12 months than women who give birth or women who were not pregnant.

Add this to the recent New Zealand study (by a pro-choice researcher) showing that women who had abortions suffered more depression and other psychological ills than women who gave birth, and it is difficult to see how the AMA or the RANZCOG can justify abortion for “mental health” reasons.

Meanwhile Judicial Watch, a governmental watchdog group, has filed a lawsuit  in a US Federal Appeals Court seeking information about why, during the last days of the Clinton Administration, the FDA hurriedly approved the RU486 abortion drug under a protocol reserved for lifesaving medicines. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said: “We’re tired of the FDA’s stonewalling the public’s right to know about the political motivations behind the RU486 approval process, as well as the inherent dangers of this abortion drug.”

In Australia, our Therapeutic Goods Authority has approved RU486 in a matter of weeks, while taking months to approve Herceptin, the breast cancer treatment drug. We have a right to know what tests the TGA has done on the safety of RU486 - and what is AMA policy on dwarfs.




BABETTE FRANCIS is co-ordinator of the Endeavour Forum, a counter- feminist, anti-abortion group



Member Organisation, World Council for Life and Family

NGO in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the UN