Thousands of pro-life supporters demonstrated in the streets of Sydney, expressing their opposition to a bill in the New South Wales state parliament that would permit abortion until birth for any reason.
The demonstration called on members of parliament (MPs) to defeat the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill that was introduced on August 1.
The bill passed on August 8 in the Legislative Assembly, the lower house of the state parliament, 59-31, following a limited three-day period for comment.
It is pending in the Legislative Council, the upper house of parliament. Legislators had planned to vote on the bill by August 23. However, in response to MPs angry at the lack of due process, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejilkian announced the vote had been delayed until mid-September. Berejilkian supports the measure.
New South Wales is the only Australian state where abortion remains a criminal offence. Abortion is permitted only when the mother’s physical or mental health is in danger.
As MPs debated the bill in the lower house, the pro-life movement maintained a vigil lasting several days outside of parliament. Many were young women concerned about the lack of protection in the bill for women and babies.
Bethany Marsh, chairperson of LifeChoice Australia said many young women are increasingly opposed to the ideology behind the push for abortion on demand, which pits women against their unborn children.
“The bill, while claiming to be ‘compassionate’, is possibly the most demeaning and inhumane piece of legislation to have ever been considered by the NSW parliament,” she said.
“The presence of hundreds of young women outside parliament should have sent the message, loud and clear, that we, the young pro-life generation, do not want these abhorrent practices.”
Thousands gathered for the Stand for Life Rally on August 20 in Sydney’s Martin Place to protest the bill. The rally brought together secular pro-life groups and representatives of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney thanked participants for saying “‘no’ to a bill that says you can kill babies right up to birth and even after they’re born”.