22 April 2001

On top of the world

Ruddock takes on Social Justice Council: Immigration Minister claims refugee centres are better than many Australian homes

Cardinal Clancy in stable condition following surgery

Secular press helps build interfaith relations – by mistake

John Paul II Institute to take students from July

Deputy Ridgeway – a first for Aborigines

International meeting of Good Samaritan Sisters

Our readers help raise $24,000 towards ‘rubbish dump’ childcare centre

Call for Catholic parents to enter schools debate

Dutch euthanasia “cheap solution” – Right to Life

Church backs parental leave for casuals

East Timor’s Bishop Belo to receive honorary degree

Quo vadis adoption? The search goes on …

Editorial: Abortion is forever too

Letters: Injustice and poverty

One Nation spectre gave birth to Unity: Dr Peter Wong MLC

Reflection: On the future of Anzac Day

Titanic mystery shares stage with classics

Wrapping up basic education

Celebrating women and family

22 Apr 01

Editorial: Abortion is forever too

Finally some practical help for abandoned pregnant women so that those who do not want to have an abortion do not have to.

But it took a Kiwi bishop to come up with the sensible but obvious solution of providing financial and other possible aid to such women.

New Zealand has always been ahead of its time as far as women are concerned. It was the first country to give women the vote. Now 38 Kiwi women have chosen to accept Auckland’s Bishop Patrick Dunn’s offer of aid so they don’t have to have an abortion.

It may be crass to say so, but it is also appropriate – the bishop has ‘put his money where his mouth is’. And in the best possible way. In doing so he has allowed life where there would have been death and grief.

Interestingly, not all the women concerned are single. Some already have families and just felt they could not afford another child. The bishop’s offer is not confined to Catholics either. He pledged to help (any) pregnant woman 100 per cent.

The world of loneliness and despair of the abandoned pregnant woman is still not well known enough to men. Well, one hopes it isn’t or else how could they abandon their girlfriends when this quite logical result of physical love occurs?

Most women have women friends who in quiet late-night chats have told them their terrible tales of abortions they never would have had if – to recast an old song – their man had stood by them. The country classic tells women to Stand by Your Man. Maybe it’s time men stood by their women.

If anyone has doubts about the unwillingness of many women who undergo abortion to do so, a quick read of Melinda Tankard Reist’s book Giving Sorrow Words will soon dispel such doubts.

Ms Tankard Reist wanted to break the oppressive silence surrounding abortion trauma. She, quite rightly, sees abortion as a form of violence against women. These women were told, she says, that ‘babies are forever’. They discovered too late that so is abortion.

The Sydney Catholic Church has recently made some moves to help such grieving women. Broken Bay Diocese has just embraced Project Rachel – a Catholic counselling service aimed at helping those many women racked by guilt over abortions that may have happened over 20 years ago.

Australia to its shame now boasts 100,000 abortions a year. We are failing Australian women and their would-be children.

Right to Life has dubbed these 100,000 children-that-will-never-be the “lost generation”. How truly tragic and how truly crazy that it may take what is fast becoming an abortion epidemic to bring the Western world – and Western men – to their senses and make them take this most fundamental of women’s and humanity’s concerns seriously.

Should we fail to do so, we may soon find ourselves singing not ‘where have all the flowers gone?’ but ‘where have all the children gone?’


And indeed, we have at times forgotten. Of course, we’ve welcomed home the returning war veterans – the first few boatloads of them, anyway, But later returnees have commented on the glassy-eyed indifference as they waved to unresponsive people in the street, so glad were they to be home. Was it compassion fatigue?

This, of course, is unworthy of us. These men and women gambled their lives for us. But the Anzacs are big enough to overlook this. Their experiences have placed them in in another world which cannot be ‘explained’ in ordinary discourse.

This is especially true of the Vietnam veterans, This was labelled “the dirty, unwinnable war” The honouring of the Vietnam veterans was tardy, but right and sincere. The same unselfishness shines from them as from the veterans of Gallipoli, World War II, Korea, ‘Desert Storm’, Bosnia and East Timor. How the list has lengthened since.

Fr Eugene Stockton, in Landmarks, writes of Anzac as our secular version of the Paschal Mystery. We can resonate with this. We are swept up in the mystery of love in these men and women transfigured by a love that inspired them to surrender life generously, prodigally for the ones they loved and what they thought was right.