Anglican Diocese of Armidale

The Anglican Diocese of Armidale exists to glorify God by introducing people to Jesus and helping them home to heaven.

 

In Focus

Abortion bill

Monday, August 05, 2019

It is never easy to take on people you largely appreciate but some issues demand it. That is where I am currently at with our State Members, Kevin Anderson and Adam Marshall. It is a little staggering that after weeks of writing articles on family I have to write in the hope of saving our children from the poor decisions of our politicians.

There is before our State Government the “Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019.”  It is a Private Members Bill, but don’t let the title of the Bill deceive you. It would seem that those moving the Bill and those supporting it are too embarrassed to call it what it actually is. This Bill, if it is passed by the NSW State Government, will significantly change the law on abortion. Archbishop Glenn Davies notes,  “The care of the unborn is not the consideration of this Bill and they are denied any care in the womb. It refers to ‘termination on a person’, obscuring the truth that this is in fact the ‘termination of’ a life in utero, which forever impacts at least two ‘persons’ – a mother and her unborn child.”

It is worth noting that currently abortion is legal in New South Wales. Judge Levine established the legal precedent in 1971 in R v Wald, allowing abortion if the doctor honestly believed on reasonable grounds that “the operation was necessary to preserve the woman involved from serious danger to her life or physical or mental health which the continuance of pregnancy could entail.”  It is important for the public to understand that the criminal code provisions have not prevented women from seeking abortions. In fact the current law protects women from pressure and medical malpractice and safeguards the consciences of doctors.

This new Bill seeks to decriminalise abortion. However it not only does that, but it allows abortion up to 22weeks (5.5 months) for any reason and beyond 22 weeks upon the recommendation of two doctors. This means there is no limit on the number of weeks for the termination of the life of an unborn baby; it could take place the week before the birth.  While there is little protection afforded to the baby, this Bill also offers little protection to a mother who may be coerced into an abortion. As for doctors or other medical professionals who do not wish to participate, the Bill offers little protection to them either.

Perhaps I have become a little cynical but there was no indication prior to the State election that anything like this would be presented. The scarce consultation and the speed with which the Bill has been presented only makes a voter like me suspicious and angered by the contempt with which our politicians have proceeded. The Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies said, “The text of the Bill has had limited exposure in the public sphere. There has therefore been no opportunity for voters to have their voices heard by their elected representatives, nor even for those representatives to have the necessary information to cast an informed vote on the Bill”.

The reaction from Kevin Anderson’s office to my calls is that he is considering public opinion, while Adam Marshall has informed me that he will vote for the Bill. Both are very disappointing responses to a voter like me and more so for the children in utero whose vulnerability will only be worsened if this Bill is passed.

I have said to Adam Marshall that if he intends to vote for this Bill then he should also participate in such abortions, particularly the late term ones that this bill allows, so that he fully understands the implications and can appreciate the emotions attached to his choices as our representative. If he cannot do this then he should not legislate such that others should have to.

It is hard for me to accept that current governments are becoming more interested in legislating for death while struggling to promote life. For the sake of the vulnerable I would plead with our community to put pressure on our politicians to reject this Bill. I will keep you informed!