The NSWRC calls for status quo on abortion legislation

August 18, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The NSW Rabbinical Council has sat on a three-person panel  where President, Rabbi Nochum Schapiro delivered a statement regarding the religious Jewish view on the abortion bill to be presented to the NSW Upper House Committee in which he called for zero change to abortion legislation.

Rabbi Nochum Schapiro

Rabbi Schapiro stated: “As the world commemorates next month the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II with all the horror that it brought including the Holocaust, I would like to say how grateful the Jewish Community is for being able to live in a free society like Australia, where we are able to practice our religion freely and exchange views as we are doing today. It is worth noting that Australiasia is the only populated continent in the world, which has not been stained with institutionalized antisemitism.

In relation to the matter at hand, we unashamedly believe in the Divine sanctity of human life and the Divine sanctity of the beginning of human life, i.e. an unborn child. 

The family planning website states: “in NSW the law (as presently interpreted) allows you to have a ‘lawful’ abortion if the doctor believes your physical or mental health is in serious danger by continuing the pregnancy. The doctor takes your social/family situation, finances and health into consideration when making this decision.” Thus we already have lawful abortion.

Any bill including this one should be viewed in light of the extremities to which it might be taken. The bill we are discussing today would allow abortion on demand for ANY reason. If a baby gets in the way of my education or career or, in even more extreme cases, if one doesn’t like the gender or even if the eye colour doesn’t suit; or for no reason at all – one can just abort. This will cause a flippant view toward the value of life in an age where we see a devaluation of life, such as in yesterday’s knife stabber in Sydney’s CBD as well as regular mass shootings in the USA. At this time we need to strengthen not weaken the sanctity of life.

The argument that a woman should have a right to choose is understandable especially due to the fact that historically women have been forced to do things against their will. Personal choice as a value is correct and accepted.  However, the right to choose is not absolute. Anyone would agree that choice does not extend to choosing to snuff out an already born child. 

Having a child is often not easy or convenient and effects a drastic change in our lifestyles. Babies can be very demanding and take away a substantial amount of a woman’s freedom; but no one would countenance allowing a born child to die in order to gain a reprieve from the stresses of parenthood no matter how difficult they were. We would naturally be appalled if we heard of a parent leaving his or her child to die in order to be able to return to a previous lifestyle.  Indeed a recent headline reads “A 7-month-old baby died after her parents allegedly left her alone for a week while they drank and played computer games”.  To abort a baby who has a heartbeat and a functioning brain, especially one who is also almost fully developed and especially also one who may be viable outside the womb, freely and for undefined reasons, will create a blotch on society and will weaken one of the bedrocks of Western democracy – the absolute sanctity and value of human life.

 As a matter of fact we have seen the slippery slope to which this can lead where we see people actually celebrating abortion and the Governor of Virginia recently stating that even after a failed abortion where the baby is alive and viable it should be up to the mother and the doctor as to what to do with the baby.

If a woman absolutely fefels she cannot handle bringing up the child, there are so many women who suffer from infertility that would love to adopt. Give the child to such people rather than terminating his or her life.

Furthermore this bill forces a conscientious objector to refer the woman to another doctor who will perform the abortion. If it is against the religious principles or values of a particular medical practitioner, he/she should not be forced to go against their core ethical beliefs and be party to a procedure that is considered by them as being akin to murder. What of other hospital workers such as nurses anaesthesiologists and technicians? Will they legally be able to abstain from this practice? How about  doctors who will try to counsel a pregnant woman not to have an abortion, Can they be suspended, sued or even criminally charged? 

In summation, leave the law as it presently stands and is interpreted, and vote down this bill which weakens the sanctity of life and does not fully take into account religious freedom.

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