Aussie abortion proponent to address Polish Catholics

Australian biothecist Peter Singer, a proponent of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide, is to be a guest at a Polish Catholic gathering but organisers say the purpose it to engage him in public discussion, not to provide a platform for his views.

Catholic World News reports that Singer is to be a guest at the 7th gathering of Catholic associations and organisations in Gniezno, Poland.

"We invited Singer not so that he could propagate his views, but so that we may engage him in public discussion," Marcin Przeciszewski, spokesman for the Polish Catholic Information Agency said.

Singer believes that animals should have the same legal rights as human beings.

According to Polish moral theologian Fr Pawel Bortkiewicz, "Singer is the icon of the dark night in bioethics".

"He is a very controversial figure who however cannot be ignored."

He asked: "Is an invitation to Singer to participate in a gathering organized by Catholic associations a good idea?"

Without directly answering his own question, Fr Bortkiewicz said: "While I am angered by his views, I would willingly discuss them with him."

According to Andrzej Suchcicki of the Association of Families and Caregivers of Persons with Down Syndrme: "Singer's views are so extreme that I do not consider them a threat to Poland."

Singer will partake in a discussion entitled "Bioethics? Opportunities and threats".

Pregnancy bill row for Labor

Meanwhile, in another story, Labor backbenchers are pressuring Kevin Rudd's shadow cabinet to reconsider its support for a bill aimed at making pregnancy counselling services declare their position on abortion, the Australian reports.

Labor's front bench initially supported Democrats senator Natasha Stott Despoja's bill to force pregnancy counselling groups to declare whether they would refer women seeking help to abortion clinics.

But some Labor MPs with strong religious convictions are refusing to be seen to support a bill that could coerce Catholic church organisations into referring women to abortion clinics.

The standoff between the shadow cabinet and caucus members is the first difference between the back bench and the new Opposition Leader that has threatened to break into a public political brawl, the Australian says.

Peter Singer invited to address Polish Catholic conference (Catholic World News, 26/3/07)
Labor row over pregnancy bill (The Australian, 27/3/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Peter Singer (Wikipedia)
Peter Singer homepage, Princeton University

27 Mar 2007