Churches riled by women's rights
Religious figures and medical authorities have spoken out ahead of NSW’s abortion debate this week.
A bill has been tabled in NSW Parliament that seeks to end the 119-year criminalisation of abortion in the state. It allows for terminations up to 22 weeks, with the possibility of later terminations with the consent of two doctors.
The dean of Sydney's St Mary's Catholic Cathedral told his Sunday congregation that legalising abortion would be “another attack on the conscience rights of Catholics”.
Reverend Don Richardson urged parishioners to contact their local MPs to sway them against the bill.
“We need to constantly remind our representatives in Parliament that they are accountable to us in the short term, and to God, whether they believe in him or not, in the end,” he said.
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists president Vijay Roach says healthcare is not be a matter of conscience.
“This is an issue of compassion, respect and health care and abortion care is part of health care,” he said.
“Wider society needs to recognise the autonomy of women and their right to make decisions about their own body.”
Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies says he can not believe “respected parliamentarians would ever put their name to a bill which would kill an unborn baby the day before birth”.
Dr Roach said that kind of claim is “disingenuous, unfounded and unfair”.
“A lot of medical conditions in pregnancy will only become apparent in later pregnancy and other states have showed there is no increase in abortions,” he said.
Medical Director of Family Planning NSW Deborah Bateson said decriminalising abortion is almost universally accepted in the medical world.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard have pledged to vote for the bill this week.