Bishop, Greens clash over 'radical' abortion bill

Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ and Tammy Franks (ACBC and Wikipedia)

Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ has warned that a proposed South Australian abortion reform bill will be the most radical in the country and see terminations conducted “well into the ninth month of pregnancy”. Source: The Australian.

The Apostolic Administrator of Adelaide and Port Pirie Bishop said the bill currently before the upper house of the South Australian parliament treated abortion “simply as a medical procedure without moral significance”.

“There is no need for a medical opinion or a doctor’s involvement and no reason need be given for an abortion. It will be the most radical abortion law in the country,” Bishop O’Kelly said.

The private member’s bill by Greens MP Tammy Franks seeks to remove the 28-week gestation limit and “two-doctor” rule currently in place for women whose health, or that of their fetus, is at risk.

Ms Franks said that since she introduced the bill in December she had been accused by members of the public of infanticide, received death and rape threats, and been the subject of anonymous leaflets that label her a “killer”.

She hit back at Bishop O’Kelly, saying his remarks about her bill “crossed the line”. She said a homily from Bishop O’Kelly in which he said “pre-born babies may be terminated up to birth for no medical reason” was untrue, as a raft of laws would continue to apply.

But Adelaide gynaecologist Elvis Šeman said that Ms Franks proposed reforms would result in “leaving babies born alive to die”.

Dr Šeman said 84 babies were terminated per week in South Australia. “The proposed bill removes all the provisions that made backyard abortion illegal in 1969,” he said.

“Abortion can be performed by a non-medical provider, using any method and for any reason (including sex selection for social reasons), at any gestation (up to term), leaving babies born alive to die, and using SA Health funding without the accountability of reporting.”

Ms Franks said the “supposedly educated” Bishop O’Kelly and Dr Šeman had made “extraordinary and irresponsible claims”.


Abortion law radical: bishop (The Australian

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