Despite the considerable attention and concern about the issue of the lack of foetal pain relief for unborn babies in late-term abortions, the three-year review report devoted a mere three paragraphs to this significant issue.

The Foetal Pain Relief Bill 2021 was rejected by the government partly leaning on the pretext that the review should be allowed “space” to do its work and review all aspects related to the abortion law. This legislative hands-off attitude from the government was contradicted by its own attempts to push forward censorship zones at a time when the review was still ongoing.

In the report, the author stated she was “not a medical practitioner” and therefore “this issue is not within her field of competence”. However, she claimed to have consulted “two fetal medicine specialists and one obstetrician” who claimed foetal pain relief was unneeded. She failed to explain the reason underlying this view. She clearly refused to actively seek the view of a doctor who supports administering precautionary pain relief. In addition, she failed to engage with the growing academic literature on this issue.

The dismissively small reference to the issue of foetal pain relief contrasted starkly with the entire section devoted to censorship zones, a fringe issue which seeks to discriminate against pro-life citizens. Considering the report’s lack of serious engagement on the pain relief issue, there is a need for the issue to be sincerely examined.