Abortion technically is illegal and carries criminal charges in parts of the Land Down Under even though the law is not enforced. However, Queensland is considering decriminalizing abortion in upcoming State Parliamentary proceedings in March, and Brisbane’s archbishop has received tremendous criticism for comparing the move to the Nazi eugenics programs, RT News reported.
“The classic term for it is eugenics,” Archbishop Mark Coleridge told the Courier Mail. “It is the kind of thing that went on in Nazi Germany.”
The archbishop elaborated on his fears that women would abort their unborn babies based on gender, citing the atrocities of China’s One Child Policy, or based on women’s fears of the natural weight gain associated with pregnancy. This could be a reference to a story Pope Francis recently told about a woman who aborted her baby to preserve her figure.
“We know this is happening in China. There are even women having abortions because they are worried about their figure. At that point you have a culture in trouble,” Archbishop Coleridge stated. “I think a government that is very strongly opposed to domestic violence but strongly in favor of greater access to abortion has a kind of a contradiction at its heart. It’s a contradiction and probably is hypocrisy.”
The Queensland Crimes Code of 1899 currently bans abortion. There are exceptions to “prevent serious danger to the woman’s physical or mental health,” RT News states. The proposed legislation, to be voted on March 1, would not only decriminalize abortion but also create buffer zones surrounding abortion centers and permit abortions post-24 weeks should two doctors agree upon endangerment of the mother’s physical or mental health.
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Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, a Catholic who said she “simply disagrees” with church doctrine on the sanctity of life, told the RT Times: “With all due respect to Archbishop Coleridge, I don’t need counseling about my position on abortion. I have been pro-choice all my adult life.”
“It’s also sad that we have reached a new low in this debate when women who have abortions are compared to Nazis,” Trad elaborated. “I would have thought the Archbishop had more important things to focus on, like the [Royal Commission’s] inquiry into institutional [child sex] abuse and the findings that are coming out of that inquiry than what is before the Queensland Parliament,” Trad told the Brisbane Times.
The Archbishop has since apologized for the comments comparing abortion to the Nazi eugenics programs, the Courier Mail reported. However, he also stated: “For her [Trad] it may be more a political judgment than a moral judgment. But I have a problem when political judgment and moral judgment part company.”
According to the International Business Times, the archbishop’s apology also included the following sentiments: “Women are damaged by abortion, which is a short term solution often leading to long term trouble. To speak of a woman’s right to choose prompts other questions about rights. What are the rights of unborn children? Or do they have no rights… no real human status?”
In a letter sent to Queensland State Parliament, the archbishop criticized the legislation, saying it does not protect women’s health and it would lead to the destruction of innocent, vulnerable babies in the womb.
“For most medical procedures, one needs to indicate that there is a medical reason for undertaking the procedure,” the archbishop wrote. “The Bill being considered makes no such provision. Indeed it treats abortion as a trivial procedure.”
As well as in the Criminal Code, in Queensland the law on abortion is governed by legal precedent: the decision in R v. Bayliss and Cullen in 1986. While that decision allowed for abortion in certain restricted circumstances. Justice McGuire stated: The law in this State has not abdicated its responsibility as guardian of the silent innocence of the unborn. It should rightly use its authority to see that a mentality of abortion on whim or caprice, does not insidiously filter into our society. There is no legal justification for abortion on demand.
It is sometimes suggested that times have moved on and community expectations are different. But this would not seem to be the case. It is true that the majority of the population believe that women should have access to abortion, but it is also true that there is preference for women to have real and immediate access to alternatives to abortion. Furthermore it would appear that even among those who support abortion in principle, many do not support it other than for medical reasons.
A recent Galaxy Poll in Queensland found that 72 per cent of Queenslanders were opposed to abortion after three months.