Babies Born Alive Bill Submission

As you know I’m passionate about change when it comes to babies born alive due to second and third-trimester abortions. Why? Well, babies born alive due to failed abortions are human beings first. Secondly, they have survived an abortion and are living persons. What would you say if I told you that these babies under current legislation are not to be offered life-sustaining medical treatment even if they are deemed compatible with life? Would you be outraged? Because I am! As you are aware, an abortion is performed to end the life of the baby inside the womb. Therefore you would not expect a baby to be born alive when going through this end-of-life procedure. According to the Queensland and Victoria statistics for babies born alive due to abortion there have been 724 live births from 2010-2020. Each year the number is rising at an alarming rate. As a human being who believes in being humane, this practise is inhumane. Leaving a voiceless, pre-term baby to die on it’s own in pain and sometimes for hours without palliative care or the warmth of another to cuddle them or care is appalling. Therefore I’ve written a submission to the Senate Committee supporting the Babies Born Alive Bill. Asking for change is not much to do for our innocent victims of late term abortion, in fact it’s the bare minimum we can do as human beings who care for others.

If you want to know more about this bill then please head over to the Parliament Australia website. Here you can read over the bill and if compelled like me send the committee a submission asking to change the legislation around babies born alive due to abortion.

Below is the fact sheet from Dr Joanna Howe who is a human rights advocate and professor of law at The University of Adelaide. I obtained this fact sheet through her personally and have written my submission based on these facts.

Dr Joanna Howe

is a Professor of Law at the University of Adelaide and a former NSW Rhodes Scholar.



Babies born alive and left to die following a failed abortion

Professor Joanna Howe


Although the intention of an abortion is to end the life of the foetus, there are occasions when a baby is born alive. Signs of life in a baby which may be present following a failed abortion include the presence of a heartbeat, breathing and crying. This fact sheet examines what we know about babies born alive following an abortion in Australia.

How many babies are born alive following an abortion in Australia?

As data reporting requirements on abortion varies between states and territories, there is only limited publicly released information about when babies are born alive following an abortion. From this information and from media reports we know of the following babies born alive and left to die:

On average,

every week in Queensland and Victoria a baby is born alive and left to die following an abortion.

27 in Western Australia

328 in Queensland
396 in Victoria
54 in South Australia
1 in NSW
1 in the Northern Territory

These numbers are significantly less the overall number of babies born alive following a failed abortion, given that only Queensland and Victoria publicly release some data on babies born alive following a failed abortion. In the other jurisdictions, we only have an incomplete and anecdotal picture of the extent of babies born alive and left to die following an abortion.

Table 1: Babies born alive and left to die in Queensland and Victoria between 2010-2020







































How are babies born alive following an abortion?

There is some uncertainty about how babies are born alive following a medical intervention which is intended to kill them. One known example of how this occurs is when a baby is born alive following the induction of labour without feticide. Feticide is where specific interventions occur to ensure the death of the in-utero baby prior to being delivered fully intact vaginally through labour. In this procedure:

Feticide is performed by ultrasound specialists who have skills in accessing the fetal circulation to instill intracardiac potassium chloride (KCl) or intrafunic lignocaine, resulting in cessation of fetal cardiac activity prior to the commencement of the termination procedure.

According to one study, ‘[u]intended live birth after abortion can be emotionally difficult for many (although not all) women and poses difficulties for health professionals, both in terms of process and emotion’. In 2018, a study reported in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reviewed 241 late-term abortions without feticide on babies between 20-24 weeks gestation and found that more than half the babies were born alive, with a median time of survival of 32 minutes and one baby surviving for over four hours (267 minutes).

Is it a pro-life lie that babies are left to die following a failed abortion in Australia?

The abortion industry and pro-abortion media outlets assert that babies born alive and left to die following an abortion is a ‘myth’,‘nonsensical’, and ‘medically unnecessary’.  

Although there is very little information about what happens to babies who are born alive following an abortion, a Northern Territory Coroner’s report into the death of baby Jessica Jane provides insight into what occurs.

In this case, Jessica Jane was born alive and placed on a metal kidney dish in an empty room for approximately 80 minutes until she died. According to Nurse Williams who delivered her, Jessica Jane, although premature, was apparently healthy, had no apparent abnormalities and her vital signs were relatively good. Nurse Williams weighed the baby and she was 515 grams. She called the doctor who had authorised the abortion to inform him of the live birth and that the baby’s Agpar scores were strong. According to the Coroner, the doctor’s only response was to say so? and then he abruptly hung up the phone on her. He gave no instructions to give the baby medical care, and the baby was left to die where she lay. She checked on Jessica Jane every 10-15 minutes and observed crying and movement. According to the Coroner’s report after about an hour her heartbeat and breathing slowed until death at 0405 hours. Nurse Williams informed the Coroner, ‘I desperately wanted to do more, but felt my hands were tied’.

Extract from the NT Coroner’s judgment of the inquest into the death of Jessica Jane

“The evidence established that the deceased was fully born in a living state. In the 80 minutes of her life she had a separate and independent existence to her mother. … the purpose of the induction procedure (which was to abort the delivery of a live baby) should not be allowed to diminish her status as a human being. Her life was unexpected and her death was inevitable. However, the first half of this description could be applied to many of us, and the second half to all of us. The deceased having been born alive deserved all the dignity, respect and value that our society places on human life.

In my view, the fact that her birth was unexpected and not the desired outcome of the medical procedure, should not result in her, and babies like her, being perceived as anything less than a complete human being. Similarly, the fact that her death was inevitable should also not have the same result. The old, the infirm, the sick, the terminally ill are all entitled to proper medical and palliative care and attention. In my view, newly born unwanted and premature babies should have the same rights. The fact that her death was inevitable should not affect her entitlement to such care and attention.

In the Coroner’s judgment, reference is made to another case of a baby born alive following an abortion and left to die in in Sydney. The NSW Deputy State Coroner in that case stated that she had been made aware that ‘many terminated foetus[es] live after they are expelled from the mother’. She also criticised the hospital staff for failing to care for a baby born alive following an abortion, stating:

There is a serious issue which arose as to the way in which the deceased was treated after signs of life were detected. Not the least of these being the non-acceptance by medical staff that they had a duty to treat the situation in a manner different than they did.

What role will a federal law have in protecting babies born alive following a failed abortion when abortion law is governed by the states and territories?

There is a pressing need for a federal law to give equal protection to babies born alive following an abortion given that there is no consistent regulatory approach across states and territories in Australia.

In Queensland, for example, the Termination of Pregnancy Guidelines make it clear that there is to be no provision of medical care (either palliative care or life-saving treatment) to a baby who survives an abortion. These Guidelines currently state:

If a live birth occurs:

Support the women’s wishes and preferences
Handle baby gently and carefully and wrap to provide warmth
Offer opportunities to engage in care provision (e.g. cuddling/holding) as desired
Do not provide life-sustaining treatment (e.g. gastric tubes, IV lines, oxygen therapy)
Provide sensitive emotional support and reassurance to parents throughout the process and afterwards
Document date and time end of life occurs.

Examples of babies born alive following a failed abortion

Tim, a baby who survived an abortion following a diagnosis of Down Syndrome and was left to die, without medical care for 9 hours before a nurse provided life-saving medical treatment.
Gianna Jessen, a survivor of a saline abortion procedure. She had cerebral palsy due to a lack of oxygen to her brain during the abortion attempt but is today an outspoken advocate for equal rights for babies born alive following an abortion.
Melissa Ohden, who was saved by a nurse who heard her crying and found her lying among medical waste at a US hospital. Melissa went onto live a perfectly healthy life.
The daughter of Sycloria Williams who was delivered alive. To her mother’s horror and without her consent, the abortion clinic’s owner cut her baby girl’s infant’s umbilical cord and placed the baby in a plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.
An unnamed baby who was aborted and zipped into a medical bag whilst still breathing at Westmead Hospital following an abortion.
Jessica Jane, a baby who was born alive in the NT following a failed abortion and who lived for approximately 80 minutes.
Kiyo Bleu Watson, who was diagnosed with Edwards Syndrome at 15 weeks and was aborted at 18 weeks and 4 days. He was born alive and lived for ten hours. His mother said that watching her son die for ten hours was ‘torture’. She said, ‘‘It was awful. I can’t get my head around how he survived. I don’t even have a word for how horrible it feels. There is a person I’ve read about who has survived with Edwards Syndrome to 40. Kiyo Bleu was so strong now I wonder if he would have survived. His heartbeat was so strong you could feel it. If I had known he would be born alive I probably would have made a different decision. I thought I was doing the right thing but now I think I have done the wrong thing. He just looked so normal’.
A baby who survived an abortion and was discharged in a healthy state from hospital at 10 months.

List of Recommendations

Recommendation 1

There should be statutory protections at the federal level for all babies born alive in Australia to receive medical care irrespective of the circumstances of their delivery.

Recommendation 2

There should be national medical protocols put in place (by statute, regulation or otherwise) to govern the provision of medical care to newborn babies following an abortion. These should include, but not be limited to:

a. Ensuring that newborn babies are immediately assessed for gestational age and viability by a medical practitioner.
b. The provision of medical care should be based on a formal-equality principle. All newborn babies are entitled to equal treatment under the law. The basis for this equality principle is that a newborn baby possesses independent human rights upon its separation from its mother.

Recommendation 3

There should be mandatory and robust national data collection on babies born alive following an abortion. This will require the cooperation of state and territory governments and should encompass data collection on the gestational age at birth, gender of the baby, reason for abortion, medical care provided after birth and length of life.

Recommendation 4

All pregnant women undertaking a second or third trimester abortion should be given comprehensive crisis pregnancy counselling and be made aware of the risks of late-term abortion, including live birth.

According to one study, ‘[m]any women do change their minds about an initial abortion decision. A change of mind in favour of continued pregnancy is far commoner in second trimester abortion applicants compared to first trimester applicants. In a study of 1419 women who booked for abortion, overall almost 10% subsequently opted to continue pregnancy to term. However, among applicants of over 18 weeks gestation, 75% decided to continue pregnancy’.

Recommendation 5

All babies born alive following an abortion who die prior to discharge from the hospital should be referred to the Coroner for an inquest.

As the Northern Territory Coroner stated, babies born alive following a failed abortion ‘is not just something for medical practitioners and health professional[s] to consider and deal with. The public have a right to be informed and take part in any debate. The coronial process is the means by which they are informed. This is why it is important that these kinds of deaths be reported to the Coroner’.

Recommendation 6

If the death is unavoidable, the baby must always be given palliative care, with proper attention given to pain relief and the emotional needs of the dying baby.

Recommendation 7

All babies born alive following an abortion who die in hospital after their birth are entitled to a birth certificate, death certificate and proper burial or cremation.

Below is my submission. If you would like to use mine for reference or would like the template guide that I used from Dr Joanna Howe then please contact me through my email



Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Bill 2022

Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs

Dear Senate Committee members

Thank-you for the opportunity to make a submission to the Senate inquiry on the Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Bill 2022.

Each one of us here have been granted a time on this earth. As a human being I ask you, what does it mean to be human and what does it mean to be humane? Our meaningful purpose is not always known in life; however, from a young age I knew my purpose is to care for life in all its processes. I am a voice for vulnerable human beings, my name is Sarnia Martin and today I call on you to be the change our voiceless innocent of society needs. I support the Bill because I believe that all babies born in Australia should receive equal treatment under the law. Babies born alive after a failed abortion should receive the same medical care as other babies born under different circumstances.

Currently, babies born alive in Australia through a failed abortion suffer. They perish without a kiss or a cuddle, they gasp for air with their tiny, underdeveloped lungs and the pain they would feel amongst the trauma they’ve been through would be indescribable. You see, these babies are being evicted from the safety of their mother’s womb and their time on this earth has been determined for them. Their safety, their comfort and their development are cut short by an abortion committed in either the second or third trimester where their prognosis for survival is higher. Statistics according to Victoria and Queensland from 2010-2020 are proof that more babies are being born alive each year at an alarming rate. In this day and age, to think that a baby born alive would not be offered the lifesaving treatment it deserves as a human being, or the comfort of palliative care is inhumane. We would not leave our pets to die alone, so why would we let an innocent human being die alone?

I propose that all babies irrespective of how they were born be given life-sustaining medical treatment or palliative care in the event they are assessed as death unavoidable. That all live births following an abortion must be recorded. That the mother is given full counselling and understands that the baby could be born alive when having an abortion in the second or third trimester. Finally, all babies born alive that pass away after the failed abortion in hospital be given a full birth certificate, funeral and burial or cremation.

This change comes down to you, it comes down to us! What is your purpose? Do you consider the current standard practise humane? Intrinsically I know that it is not. Please, as human beings, politicians and Australians we need to honour life and strive to do better.  I ask you to support the bill.

Yours sincerely

Sarnia Martin




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