Why Has Zoe’s Law Still Not Passed?

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By Elise, Medical Student

Just over a year since abortion to birth was legalised in New South Wales, another failure in the state’s legislation-making has recently been acknowledged in the media. On Friday morning, Ray Hadley expressed his disgust at the failure of the New South Wales parliament to pass a law recognising the injustice of criminal acts that result in the death of unborn babies.

Zoe’s Law – a law that would recognise unborn babies as ‘legal persons’ after 20 weeks – has been proposed to and rejected by the parliament on numerous occasions. Named after the unborn daughter of a woman hit by a drug-affected driver in 2009, Zoe’s Law was supported by Hadley in 2018 after a young mother and her twins were also killed by a drug-affected driver.

Discussing this on his radio talk show, Hadley described the rejection of the law as “an absolute abomination”. In his discourse on the situation, Hadley expressed his disappointment that “nothing’s ever been done about it”, that we need “to give justice to unborn children” and that “the loss of an unborn child is a tragedy”.

“A woman’s right is a woman’s right, but when it comes to this, it’s nothing to do with a woman’s right,” stated Hadley.

Despite his assertion of the “inadequacies of the Berejiklian government”, Hadley proceeded to undermine his own poignant remarks.

“These new laws will not affect the existing laws on abortion”, Hadley assured his listeners. “We can guarantee women having the right under special circumstances – medical advice and the like – to abort a foetus and to do it in an early stage under certain conditions.”

How far along is this early stage? What are these certain conditions?

According to Ray Hadley it is “when you get to a certain period when life is formed, when you’ve got a beating heart”.

An unborn baby’s heart starts to beat at just 21 days old.

However according to New South Wales law, abortion can be at any time for any reason, until birth.

Herein lies the true cause of the situation that Hadley finds himself (and many others) so frustrated with.

The reason Zoe’s Law is not passing, is not because it is a weak bill with legal implications that could harm women.

Zoe’s Law is not passing because it is a strong bill with legal implications that should require our state law to recognise the humanity of the unborn child.

It would require state lawmakers and commentators like Ray Hadley to ask when life begins and under which certain ‘conditions’, abortion would be acceptable. The answer? Life begins at conception. The heart of an unborn child starts beating at 21 days. There are no ‘certain conditions’ in which abortion is ever in the best interest of the mother or child. We are called to love them both.

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