Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart on Saturday decried the passage of the Abortion Law Reform Bill 2008 in the state of Victoria as “a betrayal of our shared humanity, a betrayal of women, a betrayal of the innocent unborn child that we would ease the way to the destruction of 20,000 unborn children annually.”
The bill, which removes abortion from the Crimes Act, was passed on Friday in Victoria’s Upper House 23 to 17, with all amendments to the bill being rejected.
“For the time being the battle is lost in the legislature. But not in the hearts and minds of good people,” the archbishop said in reaction to the bill’s passage. He described himself and others in the community as people “filled with a profound sadness and anguish” because the parliament has legalized the destruction of children “up to the moment of birth.”
Saying that our shared humanity “demands that we assist mothers with an unwanted pregnancy to enable them to carry their child to term,” he said the Church and “all people of goodwill” will redouble their efforts “to foster and promote a culture that is pro-life; one that defends and supports women in their inspiring role of motherhood.”
Archbishop Hart criticized the bill for offering nothing to support women with unwanted pregnancies, but instead makes easier “the way to the legal destruction of their child,” a course of action the archbishop described as universally recognized as “regrettable and distressing.”
He listed several other problems with the bill: “The Bill overrides the conscientious objection of medical professionals. It makes a mockery of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. It contravenes the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
The archbishop said Catholic hospitals will continue to provide services “in a way consistent with Catholic teaching and code of ethics.”
“Catholic hospitals will not perform abortions,” he stressed. “Catholic hospitals will not provide referrals for the purpose of abortion. This is irrevocable.”