8 September 2008
The Salvation Army Opposes Proposed Abortion Legislation
The Salvation Army, as part of the overall Christian Church in Australia, strongly opposes the Abortion Law Reform Bill 2008 legislation which was tabled in the Victorian Parliament on 19 August and is due to be debated from 9 September, 2008.
While recognising the serious ethical and moral concerns that this issue prompts within those on both sides of the debate, The Salvation Army believes that, by far, the greater good is served within the community by protecting the rights of the unborn child.
In particular, we are very concerned that, under the proposed legislation, abortions will be able to be performed up to 24 weeks gestation without any reference to expert medical or psychological advice or counsel.
The Salvation Army believes in the sanctity of all human life from the moment of fertilisation. It considers each person to be of infinite value, and each life a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and preserved.
We support efforts to protect and promote the welfare of the weak and defenceless person, including the unborn. We take seriously the rights and needs of both the foetus and the mother.
It is The Salvation Army’s experience that, where unwanted pregnancies occur, in most instances it is best to counsel acceptance of the situation by all involved, for the foetus to be carried to term, and for all possible supportive help to be given. It is not appropriate to argue that no child should be “born unwanted”, as some are proposing in the current debate.
We also recognise that in claiming a right to participate in the abortion debate, this claim must be supported by continuing to address, in practical ways, the personal and social impact of unwanted pregnancies, unwanted children and a fractured society. As such, we need to provide compassionate, informed and professional care and provision to those women and their families who choose to continue with a pregnancy (even if unwanted). Appropriate pastoral and practical support must be available.
Further, for those women who have had an abortion, either recently or in the more distant past, and now need care and counsel to deal with loss, grief, anger, guilt and regret, we need to provide every available assistance and support.
The Salvation Army continues to accept its responsibility to address those social issues such as family breakdown, poverty and sexual ignorance or irresponsibility that contribute to the high incidence of unwanted pregnancies in Australia.