End Feticide - Dr Joanna Howe

End Feticide

In Australia feticide is legal in every state and territory. Feticide kills babies who can survive outside the uterus; they are gestationally viable. Although the threshold of viability keeps moving earlier because of advances in medical care, it is accepted that babies can survive after 22 weeks. Feticide kills a baby in-utero who is then delivered fully intact through the normal processes of labour.

In Victoria, for example, nearly 50% of babies killed through feticide are physically healthy and have physically healthy mothers: their life is ended because of a psychosocial reason affecting their mother. The remaining babies have either confirmed or suspected disabilities, ranging from life-threatening medical conditions to minor disabilities that may be medically or surgically corrected after birth. There is a wide range of congenital abnormalities, many of which are not life-threatening. 

There is no reason for feticide as these gestationally viable babies can be born alive and given medical care. Children who are not able to live after birth can be offered palliative care.

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