The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Denis Hart Would Rather Shut Down An Entire Hospital Than Have It Perform One Abortion

Posted by Clem Bastow on September 23, 2008

The abortion debate, and specifically, debate surrounding its decriminalisation in Victoria, is always bound to stir up highly emotive responses, and none more notably than when religious beliefs become involved. So, it’s no surprise to hear that Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart has thrown his two cents in.

What might be a surprise, however, is to hear the extent to which Hart will oppose abortion’s decriminalisation in Victoria – to wit, shutting down entire hospitals, if law reform makes providing either abortions or referrals for them (i.e. from medical practitioners and hospitals) mandatory.

Archbishop Hart said Catholic hospitals would not provide referrals for abortions — nor perform them — which would be mandatory under the law.

“In the worst-case scenario, if a government is determined to enforce such laws, we have no option. We might get out of hospitals altogether,” Archbishop Hart told The Age.

“Catholic hospitals cannot be part of any abortion. That has to be respected in the community. Even providing a referral is a co-operation in evil, and that impacts very strongly on us as Catholics,” he said.

He said the law would require Catholic doctors and nurses with a conscientious objection to abortion to break the law. “This poses a real threat to the continued existence of Catholic hospitals.”

To put that into perspective, Catholic hospitals in the Melbourne area include St Vincent’s (public and private), Mercy (public and private) and Cabrini, amongst others – roughly 15 in total – in other words, some of Melbourne’s major healthcare providers. And it’s safe to say that their general healthcare and emergency services provided would far outnumber abortions or abortion referrals, if the law reform comes through, no matter how much of an avalanche of terminations the pro-lifers always like to tell us will happen if abortion is decriminalised.

The excellent Lauredhel at Hoyden About Town has more on the topic.


One Response to “Denis Hart Would Rather Shut Down An Entire Hospital Than Have It Perform One Abortion”

  1. Lauredhel said

    Cheers for the link! Yes, these are evil, evil, evil people. There’s no grey area, no two ways about it.

    What they try to say, also, is that they’re just being terribly respectful of the religious views of their staff. What they don’t tell you is that Catholic hospitals enforce Catholic medicine: medical staff must sign a pledge that they’ll practise medicine with Catholic restrictions while within the walls. At least some hospitals extend this requirement to all leaseholders on-site who aren’t accredited with the hospital and provide no inpatient care at all.

    So it’s got bugger-all to do with the personal convictions of the staff involved. This is pure corporate misogyny.

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