This is going to be a short post, because the reason I do not support the Victorian Infant Viability Bill is really very simple. In fact, I’m astounded that it has 1,723 supporters on its Facebook page, so much so that I have to wonder if many of them (or any of them) have actually read it.
Of course, I can’t entirely blame them, because even the Infant Viability Bill website doesn’t have a copy of the bill, not even a link to it. So let me enlighten you.
It seeks to amend the Crimes Act 1958 so that a person performing an abortion may be imprisoned for up to five years. The operator of the hospital in which it takes place, e.g. the Catholic Church, would also be deemed guilty of an offence. However, the person who commissions this crime of abortion “does not commit an offence”.
Now, this isn’t China. We’re not talking about forced abortions. The proposed legislation makes that abundantly clear when it mentions the woman’s consent or assistance.
This bill seeks to make the murder of an unborn child of a particular age a crime recognised under state law. Now, leaving aside that it sets a highly dangerous precedent that implies that age or ‘viability’ has a role in determining if killing is murder or not, there is the mind-boggling problem that the primary instigator of this crime has immunity from the law. According to the bill, she “does not commit an offence”.
In case you didn’t catch that, the person wielding the knife and the owner of the premises are both culpable, but the person who commissions the murder is deemed innocent of any crime.
Any crime. We’re not talking murder, and punishment can take many forms. Indeed, it is good to remember that judges determine sentences and they take mitigating factors into account. Either abortion is a crime or it isn’t. It can’t be a crime for one set of people but not for another. Justice is supposed is to be blind and not based on someone’s identity but on what they did or didn’t do.
If passed, this bill would enshrine in criminal law the contradictory and immoral idea that someone can commission a murder but be innocent of a crime while the person or persons who carry out the commission are held guilty.