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Jackie Trad & David van Gend,
The Courier-Mail. October 16, 2018

AS QUEENSLAND MPs vote on whether to decriminalise abortion in the state, campaigners on both sides have their
final word on the emotive, polarising issue.


I HAVE held a baby born at 22 weeks, the youngest age of the premature babies in our hospital nurseries.

All babies like her who are born over 20 weeks require a birth certificate and, if they die, a death certificate.
They are little Queenslanders under our law.

If someone had tried to attack that little baby while I held her, I would have protected her. Yet Labor’s Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 allows adults to put their unborn baby to death up to 22 weeks of age on demand, no questions asked, and any doctor who tries to protect that baby will be breaking the law of the land.

This is a time for civil disobedience.

Labor’s abortion law not only declares open season on entirely healthy babies of entirely healthy mothers up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, but also crushes the conscience of doctors who object to this barbarism.

A GP colleague of mine, Mark Hobart, has already faced this coercion of conscience under section 8 of Victoria’s Abortion Law Reform Act 2008, which mirrors section 8 of Queensland’s proposed law.

Section 8 compels a doctor to collaborate in a patient’s request for termination of pregnancy, even if the doctor thinks it is medically unjustified and morally wrong.

Dr Hobart was approached by an Indian couple at 19 weeks of pregnancy who wanted an abortion because they were having a girl and they only wanted a boy.

By refusing to give a referral, Dr Hobart broke the law in Victoria – just as GPs in Queensland will be breaking Labor’s law if we refuse to sentence a 19-week unborn baby girl to death for the crime of being a girl.

We will refuse. We will defy this “unjust law which carries the hallmarks of totalitarianism”.

That was how Frank Brennan, former chairman of the National Human Rights Consultation Committee, described the Victorian abortion law, which it now appears will be replicated in Queensland.

ACU Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Law Greg Craven described section 8 of that law as “fascist”.

The late hospital ethicist, Professor Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, said, “expecting a doctor to act against his conscience is

And the mild-mannered father of general practice in Australia, Professor John Murtagh, denounced section 8 as “Stalinist”.

With virtually identical legislation due to be voted on in Queensland this week, we need courageous legal and  edical voices to denounce this evil.

Queensland law always has allowed for abortion in those rare, tragic cases where it is needed to save the mother’s life.

Our law has also been principled and just in defending the weakest members of the human family, with Justice McGuire’s ruling from 1986 declaring, “The law in this state has not abdicated its responsibility as guardian of the
silent innocence of the unborn”.

But under the Palaszczuk/Trad Labor government, principle has given way to ideology; the stilettos of sexual liberty and feminist power will stamp on that silent innocence.

These are dark days. We know our culture is brutalised when we violently repel these little asylum seekers at the border of life.

We know our politics is brutalised when we enshrine intentional killing in our law.

As to that baby I held at 22 weeks, in the end we could not save her. Before she died, her mother asked a nurse to christen her, we dressed her in the tiny gown that volunteers knit for premmie babies, and she took a few small breaths on her mother’s breast.

Isn’t that the right way to treat a 22-week baby, Premier Palaszczuk? Think of her as you cast your vote on a life-destroying law that carries the hallmarks of totalitarianism.

David van Gend is a Toowoomba GP and
Queensland secretary for the World Federa