Rabbi warns parents could abort to play video games
RELIGIOUS leaders have warned a parliamentary Bill to decriminalise abortion in NSW will "weaken the bedrock of society" if passed and will allow abortion "on-demand" for "any reason" including sex-selection.
And one eminent Jewish rabbi has come under fire after linking the legislation to the reported death of a baby who was allegedly left alone for a week in South Korea while her parents were playing video games.
The controversial legislation is being investigated by a NSW upper house inquiry which has received "thousands" of submissions from the community since Friday, according to committee chair and Liberal MLC Shayne Mallard.
Rabbi Nochum Schapiro from the Rabbinical Council of Australia told the inquiry the Bill should not be moved out of the Crimes Act as he believed it would "allow abortion for any reason desired".
"Anyone would be appalled, when you read a headline like I saw, a seven-month-old baby died after their parents allegedly left her alone for a week while they drank and played computer games," he said.
"This bill would allow in extremities people to abort to be able to do things of that nature - that is unconscionable."
Greens MLC Abigail Boyd and Labor MLC Greg Donnelly had a fiery exchange over the issue after Ms Boyd said she didn't believe women would have abortions to play video games.
Rabbi Schapiro later clarified his position saying he was simply referring to a news article, which was published in The Korea Herald in June.
"What I'm saying is, that at the extremities, if you allow something carte blanche, you will have people doing things that we all are appalled with," he said.
Sydney's Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher said the way the Bill was introduced and "rushed" through parliament "would only add to cynicism of our government".
He also suggested increasing scrutiny on abortion procedures, saying: "We've got rather too use to (them)".
"It's estimated at least 30,000 abortions occur every year in this state, more than 80 a day," he said.
"I'd like the laws applied more than they've been but the reality is these are not used against women in desperate situations."
Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies said he had "no problem" with decriminalising abortion but was concerned with "the way in which this Bill seeks to decriminalise and open the floodgates for abortion for any reason whatsoever".
"I believe the Premier said recently that everyone is opposed to sex selection - well if that's the case why does this bill allow sex selection in its current form?" he said.
"That staggers me."
"To have some reasoned statement in the law as to you could not procure an abortion in order for family planning in terms of sex selection, that would be a helpful amendment which was knocked back downstairs."
Archbishop Davies also took issue over the language of the Bill which avoids the use of the terms "woman" or "mother".
"I think the way this Bill is framed where the use of the word mother is avoided, the language of termination and pregnancy as if its some kind of inanimate object I think does injustice to our society," he said.
It comes after three committee members yesterday launched an eleventh-hour bid to stall the inquiry, which has received more than 1000 submissions.
Liberal MLC Natasha Maclaren-Jones, Christian Democrat MLC Fred Nile and Labor MLC Greg Donnelly yesterday wrote a letter to Premier Gladys Berejiklian begging her to "intervene" to allow more time for public consultation.
"There has been much criticism of the parliament, its members, the government, and its ministers around how this bill has been handled," they wrote.
Ms Berejiklian, who is on a Europe trade mission, yesterday opened the door to a new amendment to the Crimes Act to make gender selection abortions illegal in NSW.
When pressed specifically whether that she supported gender selection abortions being included in the Crimes Act, Ms Berejiklian replied: "If that's what is required, absolutely."