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Thursday, 20 March 1980
Page: 900

Senator BONNER (Queensland3.23) -Mr Chairman,I rise to support the amendment introduced by the Government. I do so because the amendment is attached to the Human Rights Commission Bill 1979. We are talking about human rights. I want to see the rights of the unborn child protected, because that unborn child has just as much right to life as you or I or anyone else. What is the good of a human rights Bill if life is not allowed to continue, if it is terminated during pregnancy? All the other rights may as well not exist because that life will not enjoy the rights we are asking for in this Bill. I said in my speech on the second reading of this Bill that I felt it was not as strong a Bill as I would like to have seen. I think I called it a toothless tiger, but nevertheless it is the best we could get.

Some of us totally supported Senator Missen 's amendments to the Bill but we were not able to carry the day, because we did not have the numbers, but at least we have a Bill, and that is something.

Today we are talking about an amendment to protect the rights of the unborn child- the most inoffensive, defenceless life of all. I do not go along with the arguments that have been put that a woman has a right to terminate a pregnancy. We are talking about the termination of life. In my opinion no one has the right to terminate a life. If a woman wants to give her child away after birth, if she wants to adopt it out or if she wants to keep it, that is all right. But no one has the right to take a life. The unborn child has no way of protecting itself; it is the most defenceless form of life that there is. That child did not ask to be conceived, yet some people have the audacity to say that its life can be terminated because someone says: 'Oh, I am sorry; I made a mistake. I did not really want to have a child. I just wanted to enjoy myself. People who say that they do not want to keep a child which is conceived under those circumstances are in effect saying that they want the child to be killed - murdered. That is what we are saying when we agree with abortion. When we agree to the termination of pregnancy we are agreeing to the taking of life.

I know of dozens upon dozens of very lovely young people who cannot have children for one reason or another. Their marriages are almost on the rocks because of the conflict and the torment between husband and wife. Those families cannot get children by adoption. Yet we allow, it has been said, 62,000 abortions in this country every year. We allow the lives of 62,000 children to be taken when there are people who could well afford, in every sense of the word, to adopt those children, to give them a chance in life and to give them all the comforts that they need in life. We do not allow these children to be born because some people feel that they were a mistake. That does not give them the right to kill someone and to get away with it. But in relation to the unborn, the unprotected and the innocent life we say: Yes, terminate it, kill it'. I support the amendment because it represents everything I believe in. I believe that the child has a right before birth, and that it has the same human rights as it would have and is entitled to have after birth. For those reasons and because of my Christian principles, I support the amendment. I will indicate that when the vote is taken.

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