Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart has rejected a Victorian government report proposing various models for decriminalising abortion and called for a full parliamentary inquiry into the issue before introducing legislation.
According to an archdiocesan statement, he said "Matters of such gravity and community concern should not be determined on the basis of a single committee report,” Archbishop Hart said.
The Archbishop said that Victorian Law Reform Commission inquiry does not provide an adequate basis for Government to legislate. As an unelected body, it has produced a report that is not responsive to community concerns.
"The Commission completely dismisses concerns about proper respect for human life. It seeks to have abortion treated as though it were any other medical procedure. This flies in the face of the fact that the life of a human being is intentionally destroyed. It also flies in the face of community concern for a woman faced with the predicament of abortion."
"All three options provided by the Commission reject requirements for making supportive counselling available, requiring an independent medical opinion, reporting adverse events or restricting abortion to places that have adequate facilities for a major surgical procedure", the statement continued.
Archbishop Hart expressed concern that, "All the Commission’s options would dramatically change the law of Victoria making it completely permissive and giving women in difficulty no support. The Parliament is given no option to consider that would reflect greater balance and the nature of the community concern over abortion." Inevitably, the number of abortions will increase as will the number of children aborted who are matured enough to be born alive.
"The Commission’s Report fails to address the gravity of the decision for a woman and the adverse effects of abortion. The Commission’s Report completely fails to address the needs of a woman in the predicament of an unexpected pregnancy for support and the opportunity to discuss the issues with someone who is supportive of her and independent.
"Everything can rest on the advice and opinion of the abortion doctor," Archbishop Hart said.
Catholic Church calls for parliamentary enquiry on abortion (Media Release, Melbourne Archdiocese, 29/5/08)
Pro-lifers make biggest noise (The Age, 30/5/08)