May 24th 2008

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Rudd Budget targets 'middle-class' welfare

EDITORIAL: 'Whom the gods wish to destroy...'

LABOUR MARKET: Post-school education and training: a national crisis

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Oil imports threaten to blow out foreign debt

ENERGY: Germany's rapid development of renewable energy

SCHOOLS: Dubious deal offered to pupils' parents / Faith schools' autonomy defended

CIVIL LIBERTIES: Political correctness suppresses free speech

ABORTION: Why abortion should remain a crime

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: The indispensable role of government

DEFENCE: Lest we forget our duty of care to servicemen

OLYMPIC GAMES: Clean-up or purges? Beijing prepares for the Games

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS: Is the United Nations beyond repair?

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Westerners acquiescing to creeping sharia / Oil fuelling world's conflicts

OPINION: Why we should encourage creation of new Australian states

Plight of young home-buyers (letter)

In defence of global warming (letter)

Wrong way to tackle inflation (letter)

US presidential elections (letter)

Life, not euthanasia (letter)

BOOKS: THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD: Essays Catholic and Contemporary, by John Haldane

Books promotion page

Why abortion should remain a crime

by David Perrin

News Weekly, May 24, 2008
Justice for the unborn and for their mothers demands that we keep abortion in the Crimes Act.

There have been recent moves to remove the crime of abortion from the criminal law in Queensland and Victoria. For now, Queensland appears to have backed off.

In Australia, abortion has already been decriminalised in Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.

So why should abortion remain a crime?

Those who uphold the sanctity of human life understand that abortion means taking the life of an unborn child and that life is precious. Religious people, be they Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Moslems or others, understand the idea of the sanctity of human life and that there are always at least two victims of the crime of abortion.

They also understand the idea of justice for the unborn and justice for the mother.

Justice for the unborn

By making abortion just another ordinary lawful medical procedure we deprive the unborn, at their most vulnerable stage, of the very protection which civil legislation ought to accord them. Decriminalisation of abortion denies them the equality of all before the law.

This equality suggests that every living human individual is equal to every other individual in respect of the right not to be directly or intentionally killed.

Justice for the unborn who are killed through abortion requires that appropriate penal sanctions must be applied for every violation of the child's rights. That is why abortion must remain a crime.

Justice for women

By removing abortion as a crime, mothers (and fathers) will be deprived of the last legal resistance against being forced into an abortion.

During the crisis of an unplanned pregnancy, the basic truth of the existence of a human becomes obscured by other considerations.

Those who appreciate the sanctity of human life know that the reality of the baby's humanity never goes away.

They know that a mother may not be offered a real choice and in many cases is forced into undergoing an abortion against her will. She will have her ability to resist abortion further undermined by decriminalisation.

Community groups that assist mothers with an unplanned pregnancy to continue with the pregnancy will be more necessary than ever. Their assistance, whether financial or voluntary, will materially assist those vulnerable women and is the best way of reducing the number of abortions in the community.

These groups provide support for women to continue with the pregnancy and moral support to resist any coercion to abort.

So, not only should abortion itself remain a crime, but so should coerced abortion.

Recent books by Anne Lastman and Melinda Tankard Reist clearly spell out the trauma experienced by mothers — and fathers — of aborted babies.

Research has established increased risks of sterility, breast cancer, disability, depression, self-harming behaviours and suicide for women who have had an abortion.

Many women who have aborted their babies feel alienated from their families and their religious traditions.

Significantly, post-abortion mothers and fathers, having personally suffered the risks and traumas associated with abortion, are now becoming vocal supporters of the sanctity of human life.

With the decriminalisation of abortion, these damaged mothers (and fathers) will see their suffering as being of no consequence.

Justice for post-abortion trauma victims will be diminished with the decriminalisation of abortion.

By taking abortion out of the Crimes Act, we risk putting justice beyond the reach of women who have suffered at the hands of incompetent abortion-providers or as a result of being coerced into abortion.

Those seeking to uphold the sanctity of human life must strenuously oppose the decriminalisation of abortion. In those states and territories where decriminalisation has already occurred, abortion must be made a criminal offence again.

It is not the role of community members to advocate where politicians should compromise on such a serious matter. Constituents do not have to provide other political options to their MPs as constituents are not required to vote in parliament or make a decision.

It is highly dangerous for alternatives to be proposed before debates and legislation are in place.

When contacting an MP during an abortion decriminalisation debate, it is sufficient for constituents to advise their local MP to vote against the decriminalisation.

Getting message through

To get the message through, a simple letter with a sender's address should be addressed to one's local MP with the request: "Please do not vote to decriminalise abortion."

In those states with two-chamber parliaments, one should also write to one's upper house (or house of review) MPs.

It is certain that those seeking to decriminalise abortion are working tirelessly to get their views before their local MPs, so there is an urgent need to match their efforts with letters against the decriminalisation of abortion.

Justice for the unborn and for their mothers demands it.

— David Perrin is national president of the Australian Family Association and a former Victorian state member of parliament.

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TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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