By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

  MELBOURNE, Australia, April 25, 2008 ( – Catholic Bishops in the state of Victoria are urging Australians to keep abortion as part of the Crimes Act, even though the state already has abortion on demand in practice.

  The Pastoral Letter succinctly presents the Bishops’ reasons to choose life and reject abortion; and the case against the decriminalisation of abortion.

  Last month the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s final report on the law of abortion was delivered to the Attorney-General of Victoria, Rob Hulls. The report outlines options for decriminalising abortion and provides recommendations to clarify the current state of the law.

  Abortion in Victoria has been available virtually upon demand since a 1969 court decision made it permissible whenever there was a perceived danger to the mother’s physical or mental health, even though the Crimes Act retains provisions which make abortion criminal.

“Thus, the judge introduced notions of ‘necessity’ and ‘proportionality’ into the interpretation of the provisions,” the pastoral letter explained. “Since 1969, in practice ‘necessity’ and ‘proportionality’ have been stretched to include almost any reason to procure an abortion. The need even to offer a justification for an abortion is seldom recognized.”

“What must be urgently addressed is that, in practice, we have unrestricted abortion on demand, a situation that provides neither protection for the child before birth nor protection for the child’s mother.”
“Given the virtually unrestricted practice of abortion in Victoria, why are the pro-abortion forces pushing so hard to “decriminalise” it? The motivation seems to be to remove the “unlawful” stigma currently attached to “medical” abortion in virtue of the fact that it is named as an offence in the Crimes Act. But the Law is a great educator and if the Law approves something then people gradually accept a new understanding of what is right and what is wrong. People begin to think: “Abortion is lawful now, so it’s right.”  
“Taking abortion out of the Crimes Act would undoubtedly be a victory for the pro-abortion forces.  But moving the regulation of abortion from the Crimes Act to the Health Act would also give strength to the fallacy that abortion is just an ordinary medical procedure.”

  The pastoral letter also states the need for true justice for the unborn and a recognition of the harm to women caused by abortion.

“All living human individuals are entitled to the equal protection of the law. When a state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of the state based on law are undermined.”

“With over 40 years of readily available abortion, many women have been left traumatised and grieving after abortion. In a position paper, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) has recently noted that abortion in various cases can lead to mental health issues, that women contemplating abortion should be advised of mental health risks and that better research is needed on this phenomenon. Many Australian women would agree that abortion, far from solving their problems, only created more.”

  The bishops appealed for compassion and help for women facing difficult pregnancies: “The Church does not condemn women who have had abortions. Together with their children, they are the principal victims of this new culture of death. Often women resort to abortion for complex reasons, abandoned or under pressure, or led on by false information.”

  The pastoral letter concludes by calling upon “all men and women of good will to reject abortion and choose life.”

  Link to complete Pastoral Letter: