By Clare BruceMonday 16 Sep 2019
Photos: Right to Life NSW. Used with permission.
An estimated 10,000 pro-life campaigners converged on Sydney’s Hyde Park on Sunday for the ‘Stand for Life’ rally, protesting against the contentious abortion bill being voted on in the NSW Parliament this week.
The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill, described by Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher as a “shameful kill bill”, will be debated by the NSW Legislative Council (Upper House) from Tuesday.
The crowd was a mixture of ages, ethnicities and beliefs, and protesters were loud and unapologetic, chanting sayings like, “Pro life! Pro women! Pro child! Love them both!” Their demand to see unborn babies recognised as human life, stood in stark contrast to the slogans of pro-abortion activists, who marched through Sydney on Saturday. One video published by the anti-abortion group LifeChoice Australia reported that protesters were chanting, “We will fight! We will win! Put the foetus in the bin!” This was later disputed by pro-choice organisers, saying they were misrepresented, and that they were in fact chanting, “Put the bigots in the bin.”
“The hotly debated issue has split the Liberal party almost down the middle, and threatens to put it in a minority government.”
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was among the pro-life speakers at the Hyde Park Rally; others included Federal MP Barnaby Joyce, the State MPs Kevin Connolly and Tanya Davies, Right to Life NSW CEO Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins, the Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies, and the Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher, who opened the rally in prayer.
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The Spectre of Gender-Selection Abortion
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The hotly debated issue has split the Liberal party almost down the middle, and threatens to put it in a minority government. Kevin Connolly, the MP for Riverstone and Tanya Davies, the MP for Mulgoa, have committed to leave the Liberal Party and move to the crossbench, if certain amendments to the bill aren’t passed.
One of those amendments they’re demanding is the prohibition of gender-selection abortions. The Lower House rejected that amendment, with a majority considering it an unnecessary measure, however recent study has asserted that gender selection by abortion is already a problem around the world—including in the UK and the United States. Both those nations have seen a sharp increase in the male-to-female birth ratio in the last 20 years. Gender selection in the context of IVF fertility treatment, is already common practice in the USA.
Support for Pro-Life Movement is Growing
The NSW abortion bill has been the subject of numerous peaceful protest rallies since it was introduced.
A large protest attended by thousands was held at Martin Place on August 20, and the Hyde Park rally on Sunday follows a similar protest the previous weekend, on September 7 in Darling Harbour. An estimated 500 people protested outside the International Convention Centre, while inside, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the Liberal Party were holding their NSW state council meeting.
In that meeting, pro-lifer Tanya Davies raised a motion calling the party to reject the bill. It was a tight contest, with 217 members wanting urgent debate on it, and 236 who wanted to let the bill run its course. The margin of only 19 indicates a party sharply divided.
Activism is Putting Real Pressure on NSW Government
Right to Life’s NSW CEO Dr Rachel Carling, an organiser of the rallies, told Hope 103.2 that the groundswell in pro-life activism was “very encouraging”, and she was confident it was making a real difference politically.
“I believe we are making an impact inside parliament,” she said. “How far that goes we are yet to see, and even if we lose everything, two things will happen: the Liberal Party will ‘come undone’, and we will continue our activism until the next election.”
Because if Kevin Connolly and Tanya Davies leave the party, they won’t have the numbers for a majority, and it will make it very difficult for the government to govern.
Pro-life vigils are planned for both Tuesday and Wednesday on Macquarie Street as the Upper House debates the bill.