Life Offices urge continued public debate on abortion
The Archdiocesan Respect Life Offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth have welcomed the current debate over abortion, including late term abortion and abortion funding, as an "opportunity for reexamining our options".
"Australians should work toward eliminating all abortion, rather than complacently accepting the loss of precious unborn life and the harm to women," the directors of the Respect Life Offices of three Catholic Archdioceses said in a joint statement yesterday.
"To all caught up in abortion we say: there is hope; there are alternatives," they said. "Our community is increasingly aware that abortion at any stage and for any reason can be a devastating and life-changing event for women."
The three directors - Dr Brigid Vout of Sydney, Marcia Riordan of Melbourne, and Clare Pike of Perth - said that recent claims that speaking out about the trauma caused to women is a 'strategy' are "yet another attempt to silence hurting women". The Church, they contended, is seeking an option that "affirms and respects both mothers and the unborn", recognising that we "cannot adequately care for either without caring for both".
"We must work to avoid the tragedy of abortion and the trauma abortion causes," they said. "We need to use our love and creative energies to address the many factors that influence a woman's decision to have an abortion and we need to provide her with real alternatives."
The directors said that mMany women feel compelled to choose abortion due to lack of emotional, financial, social or practical support.
"Abortion should never be the only option. We need to find new ways of assisting women. Women deserve better than abortion."
Meanwhile two auxiliary bishops, of Sydney and Canberra-Goulburn Archdioceses, have also joined the abortion debate.
Sydney's Bishop Anthony Fisher responded to the weekend statement by Governor-General, Maj-Gen Michael Jeffrey, who said there are too many abortions in Australia and that he would like to see the number of abortions reduced to zero.
Bishop Fisher, a member of the Bishops Committee for the Family and for Life, said: "The Governor-General made some well meaning proposals, but his solution of more sex education and contraception has been shown not to have worked... We can't afford to fall into the trap of having a knee-jerk reaction to the abortion problem."
Bishop Pat Power of Canberra-Goulburn put the debate in the context of estimating the "worth" of a life in war-torn Iraq, suggesting American, British and Australian lives are valued more than Iraqi lives.
"If you belong to a group which is strong, rich, influential, vocal, and powerful, there is a good chance your rights and your life will be safeguarded. But if you are poor, defenceless and without a voice, it is a different matter... The current abortion debate focuses on unborn human life which must be seen in the context of a "whole of life" understanding."
Bishop Power also regretted that the promotion of aborton has become a "badge" of feminism.
Catholic Life Offices Call for Public Debate on All Aspects of Abortion (Archdiocese of Sydney 11/11/04)
Bishop sees no 'quick fix' to abortion threat (Catholic Weekly 14/11/04)
The value of a life (Bishop Pat Power)
Respect Life Office, Archdiocese of Melbourne
Life Office, Archdiocese of Sydney
Many late-term abortions due to abnormalities, say doctors (The Australian 12/11/04)
PM pushes for options on abortion (Sydney Morning Herald 12/11/04)
Medicare abortions under threat (Canberra Times 11/11/04)
Abortion laws stay (Catholic Leader 14/11/04)
Values-based shift in loyalties provokes soul-searching (The Australian 12/11/04)
Howard backs MP debate on abortion (The Australian 11/11/04)
Abortion: call for sex education review (The Age 11/11/04)
Door open to tougher abortion law (Sydney Morning Herald 10/11/04)
Howard calls for calm on abortion (The Age 11/11/04)
Australian archbishop welcomes abortion debate (Catholic World News 10/11/04)
12 Nov 2004