The Sunday Times has revealed that new laws are being drafted in Western Australia that will mean that offenders who kill an unborn baby, through an assault on the mother or through dangerous driving will face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
These laws will be introduced into State Parliament later this year and according to journalist Joe Spagnolo, "will, for the first time, recognise an unborn baby as a human life". Mr Spagnolo said that "Under present laws, an unborn baby has no legal status and is not recognised by the courts."
Attorney-General Christian Porter, who is drafting these new laws, said that "The State Government's proposed laws reflect our view that any act of violence against a mother-to-be is an especially serious offence." Also that "Where an offender causes serious injury or death of an unborn child, the law must properly reflect the extreme emotional trauma such a loss can cause to the mother."
Mr Porter said. "This ensures these changes will not affect a mother's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy" and that "The proposed legislation will be drafted to require an unlawful act to be done to the mother before any penalty can apply."
While Life Network Australia welcomes this legislation, we must also make two important points:
1) This law is to relect the "extreme emotional trauma" suffered by the mother. Research has shown that abortion also has this impact on many mothers - so can we expect this standard to be applied consistently to acknowledge the grief and trauma of post abortive mothers as well?
2) How can this parliament "recognise the life of the unborn" in only selective situations -where there is violence against mothers (abortion is also violence against mothers)? If W.A Parliament is to recognise the life of the unborn, why isn't this inclusive of all unborn babies - why doesn't this definition apply equally across all other legislation?
Given the research on the impact of abortion on women, it is accurate to say that the loss of any baby can be a traumatic experience. It is not enough to recognise the lives of babies lost and the grief inflicted in only certain circumstances. While this legislation is commendable, Life Network Australia seeks a consistent approach to offer protection to all mothers and their unborn babies.
Channel 10 News footage here (click on 'Innocent victims'): http://ten.com.au/news.htm