Australian churches begin campaign against late-term abortion

Wednesday, February 2, 2005 Australian churches have begun a public campaign opposing late-term abortion. Anglican, Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Buddhist, Hindu, Lutheran, Sikh, Salvation Army, Wesleyan and Seventh-Day Adventist religious groups issued a signed statement yesterday calling for laws limiting abortions after a pregnancy has reached its 20th week.

The statement also calls for information to be provided to women considering abortion. They should receive detailed information about the health risks, the stage of the actual foetal development and the exact nature of the medical procedure. Additionally, a seven day "cooling down period" should follow initial counseling to give women more time to consider their decision.

But according to the document, the concerned church leaders are also aware that public opinion in Australia is predominantly pro-choice.

And New South Wales Premier Bob Carr has revealed that of 31,600 abortions in NSW last year, only 200 were in fact late term.

Prime Minister John Howard has welcomed the renewed debate about abortion without committing himself yet.