OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Cardinal Pell intervenes in debate over RU486 pill: “Australians would like to see the rate of abortion drop rather than rise”

Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Sydney (Fides Service) - As debate over RU486 was about to begin in Australia’s House of Representatives, the local Catholic Church publicly declared its opposition to the introduction of the abortion pill and stated that public opinion is changing with 87% support for finding ways to reduce the number of abortions.
After over 75,000 signatures were collected in a campaign throughout the country promoted by the Catholic Church and other Churches Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney said parliamentarians should abide by the will of the people.
“Pills generally are used to heal, they are therapeutic” the Cardinal said. “Pregnancy is not a disease. Little has changed since 1996 except that the dangers from RU486 are better known”. “Majority opinion in Australia, except in the Senate, disapproves of the 80,000 a year government funded abortions in Australia - he continued - and is looking for ways to reduce this death-toll, not risk increasing it” he said.
Cardinal Pell insisted that the health risks to women of RU486 “cannot be airbrushed out of existence. Already significant numbers of women have died after taking the drug. Hundreds on the US have suffered ill effects. RU486 will increase the danger of women suffering miscarriages at home and alone and will further trivialise the destruction of human lives”. The Cardinal stigmatised that the first cross-party alliance of women in parliament should use its power to increase the opportunities for abortion, to attack life rather than defend it.
The Cardinal said “public opinion in Australia is moving”, and should be taken into account. “The challenge is to encourage births, to encourage free personal choices for life, to give women the support and resources they need to give birth to their children. This is the role of parliaments and governments”, he concluded.
A pro-life petition launched by the Catholic community in Australia to prevent the introduction of RU486 was supported by parishes, movements and associations. Moreover Christian individuals and associations formed an Australians against RU486 group engaged in capillary awareness building operation. Campaign coordinator Fr. Eugene Ahern, urged citizens to write letters to their representatives in Parliament asking them not to introduce a method which is “pharmacological murder”.
Also the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Dennis Hart has written to the country’s politicians urging them to boost pro-family policies (PA) (Agenzia Fides 15/2/2006 righe 27 parole 273)