Instead, legislators supported an amendment expressing disapproval of sex-selective abortion and a review of the situation in a year's time.
Another amendment mandating that a child born alive after a failed abortion be given lifesaving care was also defeated.
"While I do not agree with abortion at any stage, I am horrified that a majority of lower house members deliberately and wilfully ignored the plight of babies born alive and that one member went so far as to state that informed consent (ie. free choice) is a barrier to abortion for pregnant persons," Dr. Rachel Carling, CEO of Right to Life NSW, commented.
Bishop Richard Umbers, an auxiliary bishop of Sydney and the Australian bishops' delegate for life, said that despite the bill's advancement, "the Catholic Church will continue to provide support, advise and care for all women facing any decision surrounding her pregnancy."
The thanked all who "rallied to oppose the culture of death," saying: "The graces given by God to the people of Sydney as a result of your fervent and tireless prayers and support for life will bring about great good for NSW in ways we will be blessed to witness and in many unknown ways."
St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney was opened for 65 hours of continuous Eucharistic adoration from Aug. 5-8, and hundreds of pro-life persons participated in a prayer vigil.
Archbishop Fisher thanked "the thousands of people who spoke up on behalf of the unborn and their mothers by contacting their MPs, by maintaining a consistent presence at Parliament House, and by praying for the defeat of this bill at round‐the‐clock vigils at St Mary's Cathedral and elsewhere."
"Please continue to pray for a civilisation of life and love, and to make your views known to the members of the Legislative Council, asking them to vote against this bill," he urged.
The bill is opposed by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Church of Australia, and the NSW Presbyterian Church.
"Rather than pursuing laws that will lead to more abortions, we should instead be investing in ways to support pregnant women who feel they have no other choice," Archbishop Fisher said July 29.
Bishop Michael McKenna of Bathurst said July 31 that "Those who propose the legislation are no doubt sincere in their arguments. However, as so often in this debate, someone is forgotten. That is the human being: unborn, but human, who has no rights when her or his life or death is being decided. Also forgotten are those medical professionals who would conscientiously oppose such procedures, from whom the law could withdraw protection. And thoroughly forgotten are the mothers faced with difficult circumstances in their pregnancies, for whom, instead of genuine care, only the bleak option of a termination is offered."
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And Fr. David Ranson, administrator of the Diocese of Broken Bay, said, "the killing of life, with the liberal possibility allowed for in the proposed legislation, cannot make ours a more human society. If with legal sanction we kill those who are most vulnerable … we rob ourselves of our human dignity which is best demonstrated in a quality of care exercised even in the face of life's demand and challenge. Such an option represents a gross failure of social imagination and public moral leadership."
The bill was introduced by Alex Greenwich, an independent member who was instrumental in the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia.
The Legislative Council is scheduled to table the bill for debate Aug. 20.