17 December 2004


In their statement "Having Faith in Democracy - Building a Better Australia" released during the year, the Australian Bishops urged the cultivation of a culture that respects life. This has also been a consistent theme in the preaching of Pope John Paul II expressed in his opposition to the war in Iraq, to capital punishment and abortion.

The debate on abortion has been re-ignited in Australia recently with calls to address the inconsistency and anomaly that exists in regard to abortion laws and the Medicare funding of abortion. Although the law varies from state to state, abortions may be legally performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy whilst at the same time advances in medical technology now make it possible for premature infants to survive even before 24 weeks.

Bioethical issues such as abortion, euthanasia, IVF, cloning, and maintaining patients on life support present a challenge to society and to a church that attempts to provide clear moral guidance balanced with compassion for those who are faced with agonizing decisions. In many cases the choice faced is not between right and wrong but between bad and worse.

Further information about these issue can be found at the Respect Life Office website of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

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