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Standing for Life: Week 3 – Right to Life NSW’s COVID-19
Easter Edition


08 April, 2020

Dear Supporters of Life,

Recently a social media post denigrating life and making fun of the vulnerable was published in the name of 'humour' on a pro-life site. Right to Life NSW are appalled at any communication which shows contempt for Life in any circumstance. The post was thankfully removed but we need to learn a lesson from this. While I understand the pressure many are under right now - being isolated from one another is hard - in these trying times we must be kinder, we must be more compassionate and we must stand in the gap for people more vulnerable than ourselves.
 
Defending Life throughout its stages – from conception to natural death – is a grave responsibility.  I am not advocating for people to lose their sense of humour during this time, just for people to maintain their dignity and the dignity of others at all times.
This weeks’ edition will update you on the impact of coronavirus on abortion service provision in Australia and worldwide. It also provides some recommendations for our Easter break.

 

 

Impact of Coronavirus on Abortion

Dr. Rachel Carling

I have heard a number of misrepresentations regarding the impact of coronavirus on abortions across the world – and here at home – over the past couple of weeks, so I’ve decided to consolidate the most up-to-date information for you.


Please note:  this information is likely to date quickly as pro-life advocates (like myself) and pro-abortion advocates continue to battle this out behind-the-scenes! Parliaments throughout Australian states have been suspended with parliamentarians only required to sit for coronavirus-related legislation.  (For example, the federal parliament is being recalled to legislate for the Jobkeeper wage-subsidy program). With only these exceptions in place, our ability to advocate directly into parliaments has been suspended as well. What we can do is use our existing relationships with Health Ministers and Health Departments to advocate for the protection of the unborn and their vulnerable mothers. We can also contact our local members of parliament to ask them to advocate on our behalf.

Most Australian state health departments have confirmed that doctors performing abortions will be exempt from travel restrictions relating to providing surgical abortions across state borders. WA, the ACT and Queensland have confirmed that doctors are exempt from self-isolation due to their provision of an ‘essential service’. This will allow doctors specialising in late term abortions to continue to cross state lines to provide their ‘essential service’. Please note: that NSW and Victoria currently have no isolation rules in place for interstate workers so no such exemptions have been required to date.

The Australian Federal Health Department has made it clear that abortions performed surgically through ‘curettage and evacuation’ are considered to be ‘Category 1’ elective surgeries. Category 1 is defined as “needing treatment within 30 days…[having] the potential to deteriorate quickly to the point where the patient’s situation may become an emergency”.

A woman seeking an abortion for non-medical reasons at seven weeks will not be facing an emergency in 30 days if she is denied access to an abortion. She will simply be eleven weeks’ pregnant – a perfectly non-emergency medical condition.

Marie Stopes Australia proudly proclaims on their website: “We are an essential service and will continue to provide termination of pregnancy services”. While their contraception and vasectomy services have been temporarily downsized, their abortion services have continued unabated.

Telehealth for abortions is already widely available in many states in Australia, including NSW.  Last year Clinic 66 set up their tele-abortion service in NSW following the passing of legislation which shifted abortion from the criminal code into healthcare. In response to the coronavirus crisis, Clinic 66 announced that they would now be bulk billing their appointments for Medicare holders ‘until further notice’. This means abortion consultations telling women how to access abortion-at-home services are now being provided free of charge. Previously this service cost several hundred dollars.

Medical abortions were further expanded last week in NSW in response to the coronavirus crisis with Family Planning NSW launching their own online and telehealth service for “reproductive and sexual healthcare”. At the same time, this service assured the public that face-to-face consultations continued to be available.
Telehealth for abortions remains inaccessible in South Australia, leading many pro-abortion campaigners to use this opportunity to campaign for legislative change.

In summary, in Australia in general and in NSW in particular, pro-abortion services have taken advantage of the coronavirus – expanding their services online and via phone and continuing most of their abortion procedures unabated. 

The abortion industry is alive and well in Australia, unlike the babies lives they so routinely destroy.

In the US, a number of pro-life legislators have attempted to curtail the number of abortions being performed in their states by categorising abortions as non-essential (unless to protect the life or health of a woman), effectively banning access to the procedure during the pandemic. Six conservative states have followed this path:  Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.  All six states are Republican-led. However, under the US system of government, federal judges can hear appeals of state legislation and the lawsuits filed in response to the passage of this legislation were swift and effective. Federal judges blocked the bans from going into effect in nearly all states – with Texas being the exception. In Texas the ban has been allowed on a temporary basis while the state responds to the health crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

In the UK, Marie Stopes clinics are providing the clear message that they are “open for business” with their website clearly advertising that closures in the UK “do not impact our abortion care clinics as we are providing an essential medical service. You ARE allowed to leave your home to visit our clinics… You can self-refer… you don’t need a GP referral to access our services”.

The Department of Health and Social Care in the UK have changed the rules on abortions – allowing telephone and online consultations for medical abortions, enabling women to use abortion pills at home. This change in abortion rules has been authorised for two years or until the coronavirus crisis is over.

Meanwhile, Marie Stopes International recently lamented that travel restrictions and lockdowns will have a significant impact on women’s ability to access contraception and abortions across the 37 counties in which they work. They successfully advocated against the closure of their clinics in Nepal, with some now beginning to reopen as a result. They will not rest until abortion is considered to be an essential service across jurisdictions.

In conclusion, the worldwide abortion industry also is alive and well – unlike the babies’ lives they callously and routinely destroy. Pro-abortion advocates have mobilised effectively and swiftly to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic. They are exploiting this time of global crisis to weaken restrictions on abortions.

We cannot sit back and be silent at this time. If you have not already done so, please contact your local members of parliament and share this information with your pro-life friends and familyWe must remain constantly vigilant in this time of social distancing and restrictions.

More Information can be found here
     

RECOMMENDED READING/ MOVIE TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND: 

"October Baby", a film released in 2012 – was inspired by a YouTube video chronicling the life experiences of Gianna Jessen who was born after a failed abortion attempt.

The movie – and novel – traces the story of Hannah, a nineteen year old college student who, after collapsing onstage at a performance learns that her lifelong physical and emotional health issues can be traced back to her traumatic birth.  For the first time she learns that not only was she adopted, but she is a survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  The story follows Hannah as she embarks on a roadtrip seeking answers about her birth mother which involves meeting the nurse who saved her life.  It is a journey towards answers, forgiveness and freedom.

     


“To be human is to be beautifully flawed"

We are encouraging our members to read the novel based on this movie over the weekend and/or to watch the movie.


- You can download a copy of the book HERE

- And you can download the movie HERE

Book Club?

Would you like to be involved in a pro-life book club - or run one of your own?

If you would like to be involved in a discussion about October Baby in the week after Easter, register your interest here. With enough interest, we will run a video-meeting (or series of meetings) via Zoom with members to discuss.  You can also send your reviews here for potential publication on our website!

Recommended Reading II – "How the Republican Party Became Pro-Lifeby Phyllis Schlafly

"How the Republican Party Became Pro-Life" is an account of how the Roe v Wade decision of 1973 inspired pro-life advocates like the author Phyllis Schlafly to embark on a decades-long fight to make the Republican Party a pro-life party.  

I cannot find this book online as an e-book but if you'd like to get hold of a hard copy of this book you can order a copy HERE.  

I'm going to re-read it over the Easter break and I'll write a review for next week.  As I read it I'll be looking for the lessons we can learn from this for Australia:

Can we turn one of our major parties into a pro-life party?

Final Word
 
Bruce Dawe AO passed away last week at age 90.  Described as “Australia’s “Poet of Suburbia” and as the “Protest Poet” Dawe often captured the raw emotions of his subject.  Here is a copy of his poem about the unborn, published in 1986.  It remains as relevant and as moving now as it did then:

“The Wholly Innocent”

By Bruce Dawe

I never walked abroad in air
I never saw the sky
Nor knew the sovereign touch of care
Nor looked into an eye.

I never chose, nor gave consent
Nor voted on my fate
Unseen, I came, unseen I went
Too early and too late

This was my life-line trust
As absolute as blood
Now down in the bucket thrust
Anonymous as mud

Oh you within whose God-like power
Lies to so decide
Remember me when, some late hour
Talks turn to genocide

For I was part of that doomed race
Whose death-cell was the womb
But who can clear a bloody space
And call it living room

I never had a name or cried
That central cry “I am”
But in a world-wide shambles died
Defenceless as a lamb

Remember me next time you
Rejoice at sun or star
I would have loved to see them too
I never got that far.

Have a happy and safe Easter!


Yours in the Defence of Life,
Dr. Rachel Carling
CEO - Right to Life NSW
We greatly appreciate all your support and generous donations.
Let's continue to stand for those who can't stand for themselves.
Keep being strong and take courage!
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          HERE IS A LIST OF THE
          RIGHT TO LIFE NSW STAFF:

          Office Manager, Debbie Croker
          < office@righttolifensw.org.au >

          Membership Officer, Dominica Connor
          < members@righttolifensw.org.au >

          Media Communications Officer
          Kathryn Gerardino
          < media@righttolifensw.org.au >

          Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Rachel Carling
         < eo@righttolifensw.org.au >

OFFICE ADDRESS:

Suite 11b, Level 12, 37 Bligh Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Ph: (02) 9299 8350

Opening Hours: Monday- Friday

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