As the NSW Parliament debates legalising abortion up to birth, The Catholic Weekly is publishing a series of articles on the prematurely-born children the law would allow to be killed were it to pass.
Helen McGovern was offered an abortion 20 weeks into her fourth pregnancy, after she was diagnosed with a rare high blood pressure condition.
She refused and gave birth to her daughter Veronica at 29 weeks by emergency caesarean in a different hospital, Brisbane’s Mater, in 2002.
“I was told my condition would either kill me or my baby or both of us,” said Mrs McGovern, who with husband Damian is an active member of the Sacred Heart Parish in Toowoomba.
“It was a very scary time but there was no way I was going to go for that appointment and we were blessed and rewarded in the end.
“Veronica is now 17. She is well and happy and a talented musician and dancer.”
The mother of five said she believed it was a “disgrace” that NSW politicians were pushing for a bill almost identical to the 2018 Queensland law.
“We battled so hard against that bill and we actually won, but the parliament overturned it,” she said.
“It makes me feel sick”
“Having been through what I’ve been through as a mother of a very premature baby, it makes me feel sick and sad to think that there are women told that their child is not really a baby, not really human.
“Veronica weighed a tiny 1kg when she was born and that fact that it’s very likely that many babies a similar size can be aborted and placed in a bucket just breaks my heart.”