by Bishop Rick Lewers
In 2015 friends of mine miscarried their baby girl. A funeral was held for their little girl which I attended with tears.
This year they are expecting another child but again, at 25 weeks, things have not been travelling well. The mother remains close to the hospital while the husband has taken compassionate leave to be with his wife.
They have asked their friends and churches to pray.
When the father rang me and asked my advice on being away from work for an extended period, I offered some time-honoured advice – make decisions that will leave you without regrets.
As we were travelling back from the western plains through some greatly-needed rain, I was drawn to an article on the ABC website regarding abortion, which on the background of my friend's request for prayer for their unborn child, staggers belief.
Figures released by Queensland's Health Minister Cameron Dick have revealed that 27 babies survived late-term abortions in Queensland hospitals last year but were not rendered care and allowed to die.
Mr Dick also provided the number of 'live birth' abortions for the last 10 years, which shows a steady increase of those that survive, totalling in all 204 terminations with live birth outcomes.
The babies were of five months gestation or more. Queensland Health confirmed that in such cases, care is not rendered to the baby after a decision to terminate is made and it is left to perish in the clinic.
After telling my friend to make decisions that will leave him without regrets, I felt l needed to follow my own advice and respond to this ABC report.
I have since discovered that in New South Wales, an abortion is only lawful if a woman's doctor believes on reasonable grounds it is necessary to avoid a serious danger to her life or her physical or mental health, taking into account economic, social and medical factors.
Make decisions you won’t regretThe ACT, Victoria and Tasmania have all decriminalised abortion, making it legal up to nine months' gestation.
However, late-term abortions in Tasmania, defined as past four months, and Victoria, where late-term is classed beyond six months, require approval from two medical practitioners.
A private member's bill to legalise abortion in Queensland has been introduced in State Parliament by independent MP Rob Pyne.
In response, Deputy Premier and Labour MP Jackie Trad said, "I am unashamedly pro-choice."
"What a woman decides to do with her body, in consultation with her doctor, does not belong in the criminal code."
Now I don't pretend to speak for women in what they do with their bodies but terminations with live birth outcomes where the living child is left to perish in the clinic has little to do with what a woman does with her body and everything to do with the value of a child's life.
I confess to not being a supporter of abortion, but leaving a child to perish even when a termination is desired has to be something that in our humanness scars us with the saddest regret.
There are people crying out for adoption and organisations set up to assist those who need and want it.
One such organisation is Anglicare's "Hope for Life", a specialised service that is an advocate for the unborn child of teenage parents.
As I write, I expect that some will react violently to what I am saying while others will be angry that I have not been much harsher.
Personally, I feel no sense of violence toward those who see termination as their option.
Nor do I want to crush those who have made a choice to terminate and now live with that decision.
To be honest l just feel a profound sense of grief and even more so as my friends seek for the life of their little one struggling but yet unborn.
In fact, if I could offer one word about how God responds to all this I think His most profound response would be grief for us while He cares eternally for the terminated.
My advice when it comes to the really crucial issues of life is to do that which will leave you without regrets in this life and for the life to come.•