By Joe Higgins
Editor’s note. This appeared in the Catholic Leader.
AUSTRALIAN state legislatures are falling like dominoes to radical abortion laws, with New South Wales the next state tabling abortion-to-birth legislation.
The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 passed the NSW lower house 59-31 just before 11pm on August 8.
It still has to pass the state senate.
Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher condemned the introduction of the bill, which would decriminalise abortion.
Like Queensland’s 2018 abortion legislation, NSW would sign up to abortion on demand for women up to 22 weeks pregnant.
After 22 weeks, the abortion could be legally undertaken with the consent of two doctors.
Making abortion more widespread
Archbishop Fisher said the new legislation was an attack on the sanctity of life and must be strongly opposed.
“New attempts to make abortion even more widely available in NSW are deeply troubling,” he said.
“The measure of a society is how it protects its most vulnerable, be they unborn children; their mothers who are too often pressured emotionally, financially and even physically to choose against the life of their child; or the sick and frail elderly.”
Pro-life organisation Emily’s Voice communications specialist Claire van Ryn said in a blog-post there would be no protection for women or babies.
She said up to 22 weeks, any girl or woman, of any age, for any reason, could ask for an abortion.
Statistics out of Victoria showed there were 310 late-term abortions in 2016, 40 per cent of which were for psychosocial reasons.
Of those, 33 babies were born alive and later died from prematurity.
Ms. van Ryn said that, in 2016, then Queensland health minister Cameron Dick told Parliament 27 unborn Queenslanders survived abortions the previous year and eventually died.
Protecting human life paramount
Archbishop Fisher said rather than pursuing laws that would lead to more abortions, society should be investing in ways to support pregnant women who felt they had no other choice.
“I urge all Catholics to rally against this proposed law and, at the same time, recommit ourselves to reaching out with prayer and practical support for women in crisis,” he said.
“We must tell our elected MPs that if they are serious about wanting to protect human life they must reject this bill.”
As the bill was introduced to Parliament on August 1, a Rally for Life brought hundreds of pro-life protesters to the street outside NSW Parliament.
Addressing the rally, Liberal State MP Nathaniel Smith said he was disgusted at how the bill was “rammed” through Parliament.
“This is not an issue like a hip replacement, a nose job, a fake tan – this is a human being,” he said.
“This will not protect women, this should not be going into the health care act, it should remain in the Crimes Act.”
The bill has the backing of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, and has 15 co-sponsors, the most of any bill in the state’s history.
But there has been significant parliamentary backlash.
Finance Minister Damien Tudehope, in an opinion column in The Sydney Morning Herald, decried the bill as “unjust”.
The state bill was raised in the Federal Parliament too.
During question time, Member for New England Barnaby Joyce referred to his newborn son Tom in criticism of the abortion bill.
“Long before he was born … Tom had rights even though he was not conscious of them – they should not be removed by a parliament,” he told the Lower House in Canberra.
“The hour of birth is an arbitrary point in modern medicine.”