Hundreds voice pro-life message
by Michael Soh
Around 850 people were on hand to make a stand against abortion at the annual Walk and Rally for Life at Parliament House last week, Tuesday, 12 May.
Organised by the Coalition of the Defence of Human Life, the event marked 17 years since abortion was legalised by the Western Australian Government.
The event started with participants gathering at the Florence and Hummerston Reserve, where scripture readings were read and prayers offered over the city and the state for an end to abortion.
Participants then marched to the steps of Parliament House, where placards and banners with pro-life messages were used to publicly voice opinions.
After a minute’s silence for the 141,000 lives lost through abortion since 1998, a video tribute for those who would have turned 17 this year was played, showing how they have been denied many aspects of adulthood.
“The Rally for Life is an important annual event that commemorates the tragic date of 26 May 1998 when the State of Western Australia approved the killing of unborn children before birth by abortion,” Coalition for the Defence of Human Life member Richard Egan explained.
“Speakers at the Rally for Life told participants about the extent of abortion in Western Australia with some 141,000 babies killed since 1998, including 649 killed after 20 weeks of pregnancy for disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Spina bifida, dwarfism and upper limb abnormalities.”
Among the speakers that night were pro-life Members of Parliament who addressed attendees on how they have been dealing with abortion issues.
Member of Swan Hills, Frank Alban MLA believes that the pro-life message must be kept alive outside the rallies.
“It’s important we keep the message alive, because you can’t just do one rally and think it’s going to have an effect. The ongoing rally to Parliament on an annual basis is very important to keep the issue alive in people’s minds,” he said.
“The fact that these people come to Parliament, where the power is and where the politicians are, the people who make decisions, is critical.
“You’re not letting the dream of dealing with this issue go; it’s very powerful and we must continue even though sometimes it looks like there’s no hope: the fact is you have to keep going.”
According to Member of the Western Australian Legislative Council for South Metropolitan Region Nick Goiran MLC, action was taken after attendees of the previous Rally for Life voiced their opinions towards WA Premier Colin Barnett and Health Minister Kim Hames.
“Last year, at the rally, an open letter was sent by attendees of the rally to the premier, calling for reforms about late-term abortions and, in addition, individual people at the rally have written to the Health Minister on the same topic,” Mr Goiran explained.
“As a result of that, the Health Minister has met with the panel that makes the decision on late-term abortions and has asked them for greater reporting than they have been doing until now and a new report will now be provided to the Minister for Health (Kim Hames) in August every year and we are now waiting for the first report to come out.”
Mr Goiran also encouraged women experiencing unplanned pregnancies to have one person to support them.
“I am convinced that women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy only need one person in their life to come and say to them that they will help them,” he said.
“We are fortunate that we have organisations like Pregnancy Assistance and Pregnancy Problem House which are willing to do that, and we need to support them more and more.”
Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly for Eyre, Dr Graham Jacobs believes his fellow politicians not present at the rally will get a message from it.
“It encourages us as politicians but it also sends a message to those back in there, for those people who are not pro-life and are pro-abortion,” Dr Jacobs said.
“That’s a really important thing because what you’ll find is that the politicians who don’t come out here, they keep looking out the window. And you don’t think they’re here and you don’t think they’re listening.
“They’re looking at the number of people out there, and they’re listening to the speeches from in there. What we say out here, they do note, and what will happen is, the message will go back to them, and I think it’s really important.”
Mr Egan hoped that the politicians present and those who could not make it will take action following the rally.
“Six hundred and 91 participants have signed a letter to the Education and Health Standing Committee, chaired by Dr Graham Jacobs who was at the rally, urging it to inquire into the practice of late-term abortion in WA of unborn children at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later,” he said.
“I am hopeful that the Committee will initiate such an inquiry and recommend better protection for unborn children with disabilities in WA.”
Collections were taken during the night, with all proceeds going towards assisting the work of the Coalition of the Defence of Human Life.
Sign-up sheets were also passed amongst the crowd, which were signed in a petition to end abortion in Western Australia.
President of the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life, Dwight Randall believes that the rally raised awareness in abortion and sent out a strong message on the issue.
“The presence of almost 1,000 people at the rally would have served to energise pro-life MPs, and to remind pro-abortion MPs that we will never forget the unborn, and we will continue to demand changes to the law until the unborn are once again protected by it,” he said.
“In order to change the laws to once again protect unborn children from abortionists, perseverance is called for and more and more people must voice opposition to legalised abortion until the government can no longer refuse to act.”
Mr Randall was amazed by the turn-out at the rally, especially by several youth who posed for a photo on the Parliament House steps at the conclusion of the annual event.
He also believes that any future Rally for Life can draw a bigger attendance, especially as people of many faiths united as one in defence of human life, making it an ecumenical event.
“It is wonderful to see hundreds of young people, the future of the pro-life movement in WA, enthusiastically supporting the rally,” he said.
“But, considering that abortion is a critical issue of our day because it involves the killing of the most innocent and defenceless members of our human family, we should not be satisfied with a turn-out of a little less than a thousand folk.
“If priests and pastors enthusiastically promoted this annual rally to their congregations, there is no reason that this rally could not become the largest annual rally in Perth with many thousands of people demanding that Parliament take steps to once again grant the unborn their unalienable right, the right to life itself. Our success in this great battle for life will only be achieved when many more become involved.”