Dear Barnaby and Vikki,

We would like to offer our sincere and unreserved congratulations to you on the impending birth of your beautiful son.

A new life is always a miracle and a blessing, regardless of the circumstances of conception, whether the child was planned or unplanned, whether the parents are famous or infamous, rich or poor.

Irrespective of biology, we are pleased that Barnaby wants to be a dad to this child and a support to you, Vikki.

We wish you well for the remainder of what has been a tumultuous and stressful pregnancy, for the birth next month and the many years of parenthood as you raise him together in a loving home where your little man is cherished, nurtured and hopefully protected from the public scrutiny that has surrounded his weeks in the womb.

Emily’s Voice exists to help Australians fall in love with the unborn, and support women and families facing a challenging pregnancy, such as yours. We’re motivated by love for life, for women, and children.

Your son is not the first child to have had a less-than-ideal start, and he won’t be the last. You two will prevail, and so will your gorgeous boy. Our hope is that you stay strong, stay united, keep your heads up, and surround yourself with real friends who will stay the course with you.

Even the fiercest critics will melt when when your son makes his triumphant entry into the world. Babies: adorable, vulnerable and innocent bring out the best in people and often unite fractious families.

Congratulations for choosing to bring him into the world despite the enormous pressure on you to abort as a flawed means of protecting him and yourselves from what has been a tortuous, humiliating and very public and extended shaming of your union.

We are certain there were friends, advisers and colleagues who would have suggested abortion as a pragmatic way of dealing with a political problem. Perhaps you discussed this option in the dark and desperate early days of the pregnancy, painfully aware of the trouble that would follow.

In pubs, lounge rooms and back rooms, many of your opponents, the media and the average joe have wondered why you didn’t get an abortion, a supposedly simple, legal and risk-free procedure chosen by around one-in-three Australian women.

It would have saved a lot of heartache. Or would it?

Each year, 70,000 Aussie women choose abortion, primarily because the baby has come at the wrong time. We know that many women feel pressured to abort by an unsupportive or indifferent partner. You two know all about wrong timing.

Amidst all the whispers, finger pointing and politicking, we wonder how many of your colleagues who have lined up to cast the first stone have also chosen to discard inconvenient children as a result of an ill-advised relationship?

We wonder if money was exchanged, non-disclosure agreements signed, jobs and other favours offered?

Enough has been said and written about errors of judgment, mistakes, betrayal, pain and loss, and not enough about your willingness to take responsibility for this child.

For all the talk about selfishness, weakness and foolishness, not enough has been made about the sacrifice and courage you both have shown in protecting your son.

We were heartened when Barnaby used your interview with The Australian to declare his love for your child, and express the fear that he would be viewed “somehow less worthy than other children”.

You both resented that your boy was overlooked, marginalised and “almost spoken about in the third person”. You humanised your boy, and reminded us all that there is a life at stake.

No doubt there will be the inevitable media circus surrounding the birth, and who can get first pictures of the newborn, and then attention will return to the next “scandal” and the hapless figures on reality TV shows.

We hope you show off your baby. Sell the story to The Women’s Weekly and give the money to a child-related charity.

This little man is going to need strong and steady hands to guide him through life, particularly when people cruelly try to rip apart his self esteem.

Once again, congratulations, and best wishes.

Paul O’Rourke
CEO, Emily’s Voice, on behalf of the staff and board.

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