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Catholics urged to stand up for 'sacredness' of life


Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ has urged South Australian Catholics to contact members of Parliament about proposed changes to the State's abortion laws.

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In a pastoral letter sent this week, the Bishop of Port Pirie Diocese and Apostolic Administrator of the Adelaide Archdiocese said a bill before Parliament drastically reduced safeguards for the unborn.

“We should all be extremely concerned about the proposed Abortion Law Reform Bill introduced late last year by Greens MLC Tammy Franks which is due for debate in the Legislative Council in coming weeks,” he wrote.

“This bill treats abortion simply as a medical procedure without moral significance,” he said.

“There is no need for a medical opinion or a doctor’s involvement and no reason need be given for an abortion. It will be the most radical abortion law in the country. There is no sense of the sacredness of life.”

Bishop O’Kelly said under the proposed amendments, abortions may be conducted even well into the ninth month of pregnancy.

“The unborn deserve love and protection, not destruction,” he said.

“We believe life to be a gift of God, to be cherished and revered. Christ said that he came that we might have life and have it to the full. Abortion is the destruction of the human life, an act that defies the sacred.

“We believe our main focus should be on supporting women who find themselves faced with an unplanned pregnancy and are grappling with this terrible choice, while also offering our unequivocal support and prayers to those women who are experiencing grief and loss.

“I encourage you to talk to your local Member of Parliament and urge them not to pass such a law.”

Bishop O’Kelly’s letter was accompanied by information provided by Adelaide gynaecologist and member of the Guild of St Luke Dr Elvis.

Dr Šeman said when abortion was legalised in 1969, no-one predicted how common abortion would become, with up to 1 in 3 women having 1 or more in their lifetime, nor how many would be adversely affected by the long term complications.

“At present, 84 babies are terminated every week in SA, an average of 12 per day. Of the 4350 SA women having an abortion each year, up to 30% (that is, 1,305) experience adverse mental health outcomes, including anxiety, depression, suicide and substance abuse,” he said.

“There are also other complications for women, such as an increased risk of breast cancer, infertility and preterm birth in future pregnancies.

“Inaccurately, many of these risks are denied by advocates of abortion.

“As a Church community, I believe that, with few notable exceptions, we have done poorly in supporting those women and their families facing an unplanned pregnancy.

‘They are left at the mercy of a health system which fast-tracks women to abortion and offers no alternatives. In addition, post-abortion, we have not done nearly enough to support and heal the majority of those wounded emotionally, physically and spiritually.

“Their grief and suffering is very real and has been enormous.”

The letters can be read here.




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