Keli Lane was 21 when she gave birth to daughter Tegan at Sydney’s Auburn Hospital in September 1996. Two days later, she attended a friend’s wedding alongside her boyfriend Duncan Gillies, but there was no sign of the baby, no acknowledgement the child had ever existed.
In 2010, a jury determined that Keli had murdered the newborn. Yet no body or weapon has ever been found, and Keli, who is currently serving 18 years in Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre, maintains her innocence. In her version of events, Tegan’s father, a man named Andrew Morris/Norris (Keli is not certain which) with whom she’d been having a casual affair, took the baby home from hospital with the intention of raising her. This man has never been located.
Instead, Keli’s conviction hinged largely on circumstantial evidence, including a series of lies she’d told about secret pregnancies.
Tegan was the result of one of five pregnancies the Australian water polo player had experienced in just seven years; all of which went undetected by her family, friends, teammates, and even Gillies. The fate of the other four later became known: two were terminated, two were carried to term and the babies adopted out.
These unwanted pregnancies, and her concealment of them, was a critical element of the high-profile trial. One of the many loose ends from the case that investigative journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna attempted to tie up in recent ABC documentary series, Exposed: The case of Keli Lane.
The pursuit of an answer, Caro told Mamamia‘s No Filter podcast, led her to a particularly disturbing theory.
“It’s a performance enhancing thing in women’s sport where you fall pregnant and you experience this window of incredible performance, basically. And then you carry the pregnancy to a certain point and then terminate, and you keep doing that over and over again. It’s this natural drug, essentially,” she said.
“I went down that rabbit hole… thinking, ‘Was she getting up to that? Could that be part of it?'”
What is abortion doping?
The concept of abortion doping is based on the unproven theory that the surges in oestrogen and progesterone that pregnant women experience may improve their athletic endurance.