Melbourne (Agenzia Fides) – It is a setback for life, society, and civil coexistence. It is an authentic “betrayal of our shared humanity, a betrayal of women, a betrayal of the innocent unborn child.” This was how Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, in a speech marked by bitter regret, the recent approval of the Abortion Law Reform Bill in the Australian state of Victoria. Information was sent to Agenzia Fides from local Church sources.
The Archbishop observed that the law will not help to decrease the number of illegal abortions in the state, and that it will lead to the death of over 20,000 children a year, who will be denied the right to life.
The Christian community has felt great disappointment at Parliament’s passing of the law. They had organized marches and prayer vigils in recent days, in order to spread awareness among the people and public authorities (see Fides 6/10/2008). However, the debate in Parliament, which lasted until October 8, concluded with the passing of the Bill, although the two major parties were divided within their own lines, some in favor and some against.
There has been a great disappointment felt by Christians of all denominations. The Archbishop also pointed out that it is an “irrevocable” fact that abortions will not be performed in Catholic hospitals, and asked that Catholic doctors working in public hospitals be given the possibility of conscientious objection.
Echoing the words of Archbishop Hart is Bishop Christopher Prowse of the Diocese of Baanna (and Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne), also located in the state of Victoria, who noted that the Bill is a “neglect of human life.” “We should ask God for forgiveness for those who've passed that bill,” he said. “It is not with abortion, but through offering help to women in difficulty that this question can be solved.”
According to Right to Life activists, the decision will have a devastating effect on society, especially on the youth, spreading a culture that promotes indifference and devaluing of human life, in the experience of bearing new life and in the relationship between man and woman and their role in procreation. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 13/10/2008)