WHAT is the leading cause of death in Australia?
Cancer killed about 48,000 Australians in 2018, according to the Cancer Council of Australia.
Heart disease killed about 43,000 Australians in 2017, according to the Heart Foundation.
Road accidents killed about 1200 Australians in 2018, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
While all these tragedies require attention and compassion, these numbers fell well short of the abortion death toll.
Chief executive officer of pro-life organisation Emily’s Voice Paul O’Rourke said abortions killed more than 70,000 unborn babies last year.
That equates to about 191 children each day – one death every eight minutes.
“Australian figures show 95 per cent of these abortions are performed on physically healthy women carrying healthy children,” Mr O’Rourke said in a report released by his organisation.
“This is a national disaster that deserves the same determined national response that governments have applied to reduce smoking, cancer, the road toll, suicide and heart disease; what we normally consider our biggest killers.”
But most legislative efforts last year went into making abortion simpler to attain and harder to prevent.
Brisbane Oratory priest Fr Adrian Sharp said it was a sad sign of the times that abortion was protected in the law and served as an indictment on where society was.
Fr Sharp said those supporting abortion viewed it as a “quick fix”.
“It’s an unhealthy side-effect of sexual permissiveness and the acceptance of immorality,” he said.
“In a rightly ordered vision of human sexuality, children come out of a marriage, in which the spouses are open to life.
“If spouses have that fundamental openness to life in the context of marriage, contraception and abortion doesn’t even figure in that.”
As a member of the upcoming pro-life event 40 Days for Life, Fr Sharp said the 150m “exclusion zone” outside of abortion clinics, imposed by last year’s Queensland abortion legislation, was not going to stop him from praying.
“I suppose we just move to the edge of the exclusion zones, which is what we intend on doing for the 40 Days for Life,” he said.
“We’ve worked out the 150 metres and we’ll be outside it.
“We will observe the law; certainly 40 Days for Life will observe the law.”
But he criticised the intolerance behind the exclusion zones.
“It’s a sign of a society that can’t even handle the presence of somebody with a contrary view – they have to be put out of sight,” Fr Sharp said.
“Pro-life people aren’t going to stop; we’re going to stand up in the defence of human life wherever the law allows us to.
“We’ll just continue on because life is sacred and we’ll continue praying for an end to abortion and doing whatever we can.
“(We’ll do that) particularly through charities like Priceless Life and Pregnancy Crisis, which are actually providing hands-on, practical support to women with crisis pregnancies and helping women to see abortion isn’t the only option and can allow the children to live.”
Fr Sharp criticised the logic behind the abortion movement.
He said there was an inconsistency in the fact that sometimes when a woman was pregnant, there was joy and photos and happiness while other times the news was treated as an irritation.
“Either it is a child always or it’s not – and it is,” he said.
“That inconsistency seems to be lost on some people unfortunately.”
Post-abortion counsellor Anne Lastman, who runs Victims of Abortions Trauma, said Mr O’Rourke’s organisation was a respectable pro-life organisation, but his estimate of 70,000 deaths was conservative.
“My figures would be 90,000 to 100,000,” Mrs Lastman said.
“A lot of them wouldn’t be seen or registered, there are those that are done in abortion facilities, there are those that are done in hospital and then there’s the morning-after pill.
“There’s lots of ways the abortions are carried out.”
But the numbers also showed a shift towards late-term abortion, Mrs Lastman said.
“(Late-term abortions) have increased markedly,” she said.
“It’s tragic for your state, for the state of Queensland.”
But it wasn’t just Queensland.
Mrs Lastman lamented the decision by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign full-term abortion legislation into law.
“Now that means the baby is 40 weeks in gestation, ready to come, even while its head is just showing, it can be aborted,” she said.
“A potassium injection to the heart fixes that problem, and don’t think it doesn’t happen, because it does.”
Mrs Lastman said this was no longer abortion.
“Abortion is an overused word now,” she said.
“It used to be a whispered word, today it’s not a whispered word – it’s a normal word.
“What we’re now slowly getting used to is killing babies at full-term, having the legal right to kill babies at full-term.”
And Mrs Lastman gave a grave prediction for the next five years.
“My next prediction, and having been in this work 23 years, is that the next step will be after-birth or what they call post-birth abortion,” she said.
“If the parent doesn’t like the kid well – it’s euthanised.”
Mrs Lastman said society had come to this point, because it had changed all its norms, one by one.
“Women decided that it’s better to be an object than to be what she was designed to be,” she said.
“Her greatest job was not to build mansions and everything else, her greatest job was to create a child for the future – because she carries the future inside her body.”
Mrs Lastman said a sad trend was she was receiving calls not just from women but from men.
“I’m getting a few calls from males, which is unusual,” she said.
“Males are usually considered as the ones pushing for the abortion.
“But, the ones I’m getting are not pushing, in fact they’ve pushed the other way, saying ‘have the baby and I’ll take care of it’.”