Move to Change has come about following the initial attempt to pass the Infant Viability Bill 2015 and the 20 Week Movement in Victoria. We want to build on the work that was done during the campaign for the Bill and to continue to work with both members of parliament and voters to work towards laws that protect mothers and their unborn children.
In October 2015, Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins (MLC) introduced the Infant Viability Bill 2015 into the Victorian parliament. This was the first formal attempt at pro-life legislation in Victoria in decades, and the first legislative attempt to remedy the abortion law reforms of 2008. Under this Bill:
- Abortions would no longer have been allowed from the 24th week of pregnancy.
- Infant viability would have been promoted and supported (all infants born alive from the 24th week of pregnancy onwards, including as the result of a medical emergency, would have been required to be cared for with the intent to save the infant’s life if at all possible).
- Mothers who were at least 24 weeks pregnant, who presented in distress to their doctor would have been required to be offered practical support, for example a referral to a pregnancy support service offering holistic care (such as counselling, social and practical support).
- Penalties would have been introduced for physicians who breached the new laws and for medical facilities in which the laws were breached.
- Mothers would not have been criminalised or face any penalties.
Second Reading Speech - Infant Viability Bill 2015
During April 2016 the second reading of the Infant Viability Bill 2015 was presented in the Legislative Council of the Parliament of Victoria.
To read Rachel Carling-Jenkins Second Reading Speech on the Infant Viability Bill 2015 please click here
20 Week Movement
Over a 12 month period from mid-2015, many Victorians got involved in a political campaign called the 20 Week Movement.
The strong support and momentum for the campaign clearly demonstrated that many Victorians were opposed to late term abortions after 20 weeks. The Infant Viability Bill 2015 proposed to prohibit abortion from 24 weeks of pregnancy onwards, provide holistic support to women, and ensure life-affirming approaches of care for both mother and baby.
Many people were activated and got involved in the campaign. Over 40,000 signatures were gathered across the State. These signatures were then tabled in Parliament.
In late May, a rally was held on the front steps of Parliament House and hundreds of Victorians of all ages attended to show their support for the passage of the Infant Viability Bill 2015. Click here to find out more about the Infant Viability Rally.
Following the second reading debate a vote was taken in the Legislative Council on the 25th May, 2016. Unfortunately the Council voted against the Infant Viability Bill 2015 with a division of 11 for to 27 against, with 2 abstentions.
Those who voted in favour of the bill were: 3 members of the Liberal Party (Richard Della-Riva, Bernie Finn & Gordon Rich-Phillips); 3 members of the ALP (Daniel Mulino, Adem Somyurek & Nazih Elasmar); 2 members of the Shooters & Fishers Party (Jeff Bourman & Daniel Young); 2 members of the National Party (Damien Drum & Melina Bath); and, of course, 1 member of the DLP (Rachel Carling-Jenkins).
Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins commenting after the vote stated: “I have always believed that this bill was about doing what is right. It is right to stand up for mothers and their babies. One day we will look back on this bill as a starting point, in turning the tide on abortion here in Victoria. It is our first proactive stand. It is not our last.”
And so Move to Change was born. Motivated by the momentum and hard work of pro-life supporters and groups, it is important to continue to build on the work that was done during the 20 Week Movement. Move to Change now replaces the 20 Week Movement to work hard to promote and elect pro-life politicians and legislation in Victoria.
Together, step-by-step, we are making a difference.