repent of abortion

Qld MP Robbie Katter Calls for Human Rights of Babies Born Alive After Abortions

9 April 2024


by Des Houghton

In the past two years, 90 Queensland babies have been born alive after abortions, MP Robbie Katter says, as he exposes horrific tales of infants being discarded, and launches a crusade to legislate for their human rights. WARNING: Disturbing.

No one likes talking about abortion. Especially politicians. That makes Robbie Katter from the Katter’s Australia Party a rare exception. He has introduced a private member’s bill in Queensland Parliament to have babies born alive in failed late-term abortions be granted human rights.

Parliament fell into a rare moment of silence when Katter told the House that 90 Queensland newborns were born alive in the past two years after abortions.

However, they do not enjoy a legislative right to care or to be treated equally like all other newborns.

His private member’s bill seeks to tweak the Termination of Pregnancy Act “to clarify particular matters relating to the provision of medical care and treatment to persons born as a result of a termination”.

In my mind, this is a debate that transcends the usual ideological arguments about whether a woman has the right to have a child or terminate a pregnancy, or whether human life begins at the time of conception, or whether it begins when an infant takes its first breath.

Katter did not seek to engage those vexing moral issues.

His proposed amendments relate solely to the legal and moral efficacy of gestationally viable babies, breathing independently of their mothers, being put in a corner to die. He was disturbed about the death at Royal Brisbane Hospital in 2020.

“When I heard Queensland lags behind other jurisdictions in ensuring these babies – these humans, these Queenslanders – are properly cared for and treated, I was compelled to develop this Bill with the KAP,” he told Parliament.

Katter’s Bill seeks to enshrine the human rights of all babies born in Queensland.

“It protects right to life; the protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; the protection of families and children; and right to health services,” he said.

“That is consistent with the Human Rights Act of Queensland.”

Katter quoted from the research of Adelaide law professor Joanna Howe, who believes all babies born alive should get the care they need as a fundamental human right.

He recalled several cases where babies survived procedures designed to kill them.

Be warned: They are horror stories.

Dying Alone

“A Northern Territory coroner’s report into the death of baby Jessica Jane provides some insight into what occurs,” Katter told Parliament.

“Jessica Jane was born alive and placed on a metal kidney dish in an empty room for approximately 80 minutes until she died.

“She went from the safest place you could imagine – in the womb of her mother – to a metal dish in a dark room by herself and was left for 80 minutes until she died.

“According to nurse Williams who delivered her, Jessica Jane, although premature, was apparently healthy and 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 APGAR scores (to test heart rate and breathing) 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.”

According to Katter, in just the last two years that we have data for, 90 Queensland newborns were born alive after an abortion.

The Northern Territory Coroner Greg Cavanagh recommended that protocols be put in place to ensure that babies who survive termination procedures are subject to urgent medical aid.

“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,” Cavanagh said.


Katter said Cavanagh referred to another case of a baby born alive in Sydney and left to die.

In that case at Westmead Hospital, an unnamed baby who was still breathing was put in a medical waste bin, he told the House.

He said New South Wales coroner Janet Stevenson criticised Westmead Hospital staff for failing to care for the baby.

She said:

“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 … There appears to me to have been a total abrogation of responsibility, let alone common humanity, on the part of those who should have borne the burden of dealing with the child.”

Next, Katter turned to the Queensland case involving a baby girl.

“Unexpectedly born at 19 weeks after an abortion, her name was Xanthe, and she was left to die in an empty room in the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in December 2020.

“Her case was reported in the Courier-Mail last year. We have various reports and guarded information around this. Although we know the raw data that 90 babies were born alive in Queensland after an abortion in the last two years alone, baby Xanthe’s story exposes the brutal reality of the short lives of these poor children.

“The former health minister and now Premier assured the parliament that late-term abortion would not increase under the then new laws introducing abortion up to birth.

“This has proven to be horribly incorrect.

“In 2018, before the abortion up to birth bill passed, 152 Queensland gestationally viable babies were killed via late-term abortion.

“By 2021, however, the number had doubled, with 304 Queensland babies tragically killed in late-term abortions.

“More late-term abortions mean more live births after a late-term abortion. In just the last two years that we have data for, 90 Queensland newborns were born alive after an abortion and did not have a legislative right to care and to be treated equally like all other newborns.”

Legal Protection

Katter said the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology reported in 2018 that babies survived in more than half of late-term abortions. The median time of survival was 32 minutes, while one baby survived for over four hours, he said.

“Scientific evidence is very strong that these babies feel pain at that age. The government and indeed the opposition may suggest that this bill is not required as Queensland Health put in place a guideline last year to direct that care is given,” he said.

“However, the way this was done in the dead of the night, without much notice given and certainly no public notice, it can be changed just as easily in the dead of the night again back the other way.

“For something so important, I do not think we can rely on just a procedure and a guideline that sits in Queensland Health. This needs to be legislated.”

Katter will speak again next month at a meeting of the Health, Environment and Agricultural Committee.

And his Bill will be the subject of a public hearing in July before it returns to Parliament.

He told the House he hoped people would be “sincerely disturbed and moved” by the cases he raised.

“They deserve the same human rights as you and me,” he said.

“Leaving them alone to die in a room by themselves or in a medical waste bin or wherever should be something that should not even be contemplated.”


Originally published in The Courier Mail.

Award-winning journalist Des Houghton has had a distinguished career in Australian and UK media. From breaking major stories to editing Queensland’s premier newspapers The Sunday Mail and The Courier-Mail, and news-editing the Daily Sun and the Gold Coast Bulletin, Des has been at the forefront of newsgathering for decades. In that time he has edited news and sport and opinion pages to crime, features, arts, business and travel and lifestyle sections.

Photo by Rene Asmussen.

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  1. Stephen Lewin 9 April 2024 at 9:22 am - Reply

    thank you Robbie Katter for doing this to help babies , who are needing some action to give them an opportunity to continue living after birth

  2. warren stark 9 April 2024 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Robbie, it’s disgusting that adult humans can treat newborns this way!!!! It makes me feel sick ! To me it’s called murder, never mind the legalities. Please shake the tree as hard as you can to make other politicians show compassion

  3. Rod McLean 10 April 2024 at 6:46 am - Reply

    A society that allows the killing through neglect of our most vulnerable is beyond contempt. The medical staff involved in these homicides should be shunned and not revered as is now the case.
    Strength to you Robbie during this difficult time in parliament, I am sure God is in your corner.

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