Australia Practitioner Defends Decision to Do Abortion at 32 Weeks

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 12, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Practitioner Defends Decision to Do Abortion at 32 Weeks Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 12,

Canberra, Australia ( — The man who did a late-term abortion at 32 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy on an unborn baby diagnosed with dwarfism is defending his decision. Lachlan de Crespigny has been prevented by the courts from talking about the case until now, and he told Australian media he has no regrets about doing the controversial abortion.

Five doctors at Royal Women’s Hospital were involved in the February 2000 abortion and the Australia Medical Practitioners Board ultimately decided against subjecting them to formal disciplinary hearings.

The abortion has drawn strong opposition form the pro-life community and Liberal senator Julian McGauran, who complained the condition was no reason to allow a woman to have an abortion so late into the pregnancy.

In his interview with The Age newspaper, de Crespigny claims the woman was so distressed about the news that her baby had dwarfism that she became suicidal and pleaded for an abortion.

The hospital physicians injected potassium chloride into the baby’s heart in what de Crespigny calls a "lifesaving" medical procedure.

"If we didn’t do it and the woman died we would have potentially been charged with manslaughter and gone to jail," he told the newspaper. "So in a legal sense, you could argue that we were compelled to offer it."

He told The Age he has not seen or spoken to the woman in question since the abortion and hasn’t been able to talk about the case since a court allowed him to do so last week.

The names of the other doctors involved and the woman who had the abortion remain under court seal, but de Crespigny asked the courts to let him out of the confidentiality clause so he could tell his story.

"I feel enormous compassion for her position," he says. "I don’t know whether she would support me or not support me in doing this."

He admits he is still haunted by the abortion.

"It’s better now in that I don’t think about it all day every day, but I think about it a lot every day," de Crespigny said. "I still wake up at night and I still lie awake thinking about it every night. It used to be for hours every night. But now I switch off and go back to sleep far more quickly."