But it was the sound of an unborn baby’s heart beating that made the biggest impression on the crowd as speakers voiced their opposition to proposed changes to abortion laws. Under legislation before State Parliament termination of a baby beyond 22 weeks and six days is permitted with the approval of two doctors.
At the rally organised by Love Adelaide and supported by other pro-life groups, Dr Toni Turnbull broadcast the heartbeat of one of her patients, a woman in her 37th week of pregnancy. Personal experiences of abortion were retold, including a midwife who spoke about having to deal with an aborted foetus. A couple told of adopting their baby daughter, now a young woman, in a year where there were only two adopted babies in South Australia and yet more than 4,500 “didn’t make it through abortion”.
The Pregnancy Termination Bill is due to be debated in the Lower House on Tuesday February 16.
Archbishop Patrick O’Regan, who attended the Walk for Life along with the Bishop of Port Pirie Karol Kulczycki SDS and Emeritus Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, has written to Catholics in the Adelaide Archdiocese urging them to contact their local MPs.
“At a time when babies delivered from around 22 weeks have a very high chance of survival and enormous resources are rightfully put into their care, it is hard to fathom how anyone could justify late-term abortions,” he wrote.
“To legislate for abortions up until birth shows a total disregard for the rights, and future, of the unborn child. It sends a disturbing message to the community about the value of some lives over others.”
The Bill also allows abortions up to 22 weeks to be carried out with the consent of only one medical practitioner, including via tele-medicine in regional areas. Archbishop O’Regan said there were concerns this would make vulnerable women more susceptible to social and economic coercion and compromise women’s health.
Another area of concern was the absence of any penalty for gender-based abortions.
“Once again I encourage the faithful in our Archdiocese to remind politicians of their obligation to protect the rights of all its citizens, including the unborn,” he said.
Watch the video of the Walk for Life rally.