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Melbourne Archbishop welcomes abortion debate

Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne has welcomed the renewed debate on abortion, describing Australia's 100,000 abortions a year as a "huge suffering".

The Herald-Sun reports that his comments follow several ministers, including Health Minister Tony Abbott, Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson and Special Minister of State Eric Abetz, calling for a debate about Medicare funding of abortions.

Governor-General Michael Jeffery has also weighed in, saying it would be "great" if the number of abortions could be reduced while still respecting a woman's right to choose.

Archbishop Hart said in a statement yesterday that the Catholic Church had always championed the protection of human life from conception.

"Our youngest and oldest human beings have an equal right to life and dignity that we now give to children and adults."

He said the debate needed to focus on the rights of the child in the womb.

"Discussion has rightly focused on compassion for women, while ignoring compassion for the child in the womb, who is the silent partner in this debate," he said.

"We, as a society, need to reflect more clearly on the beginning, the end, and the value of each human life."

Church welcomes abortion debate (Herald-Sun/Australian Associated Press 9/11/04)

Abortion Statement: Archbishop Denis Hart (Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne 9/11/04)
Moves to end abortion debate (The Advertiser 10/11/04)
Soaring teen abortion rate revealed (The Age 10/11/04)
U.N. criticizes Poland over abortion laws (Big News Network 10/11/04)
Age emerges as abortion factor (The Australian 10/11/04)
Melinda Tankard Reist: So what if the aborted baby cried? (Online Opinion 9/11/04)
Leslie Cannold: The men all agree! But what about the women? (The Australialn 8/11/04/Online Opinion 9/11/04)
Abortion a matter for states: Costello (The Australian 9/11/04)
MPs clarify abortion views (The Age 9/11/04)
Leslie Cannold: New anti-abortion tune still rings false (The Australian 9/11/04)
State backs out of abortion issue (The Mercury 9/11/04)
Abortion debate dominates politics (ABC TV 7:30 Report 8/11/04)
Costello digs heels in on abortion (Sydney Morning Herald 9/11/04)
Australian leader warned off abortion discussion (Catholic World News 8/11/04)
Liberals say Abbott will pay for commitment to faith before politics (CathNews 8/11/04)
How Abbott lost chance to lead (Sunday Mail 7/11/04)
On the cusp of life and death (The Age 7/11/04)
Australia's Health Minister speaks out on abortion (Catholic News Agency 5/11/04)
Australian health minister says abortion 'stain on national character' ( Catholics 7/11/04)
Fighting over the right to choose (The Age 8/11/04)
No abortion mandate: states (The Australian 8/11/04)
No ban on abortions (Herald-Sun 8/11/04)
G-G fuels abortion row (The Age 8/11/04)
G-G urges debate on abortion, divorce and kids (The Sun-Herald 7/11/04)
Government cracks down on abortion clinics (The Sun-Herald 7/11/04)
Christopher Pearson: Abortion debate on demand (The Australian 6/11/04)
Editorial: Revisiting the abortion debate (The Age 8/11/04)
Abbott urged to think again (The Courier Mail 8/11/04)
The shifting ethics of abortion (The Age 8/11/04)
Victoria leads decline in rates (The Age 7/11/04)
Pro-life Democrats urge DNC to change its abortion position (Catholic News Agency 5/11/04)
Australia's Health Minister speaks out on abortion (Catholic News Agency 5/11/04)
Australian late-term abortions mostly for "mental health" ( 6/11/04)

10 Nov 2004