Synod In Past Years
6/88 Deliberate Terminations of Human Life
This report was received by the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney in October 1989.
1. Resolution 6/88 is as follows.
2. The committee met on four occasions, its membership consisting of -
"The available statistics on the very high number of deliberate terminations of confirmed pregnancies at present being performed in Australia"3. This year in Australia -
"To assess available research on the characteristics of the women concerned"
4. In Sydney, a woman who wishes to terminate a pregnancy has a range of facilities publicly available -
The federal government provides a subsidy for the "evacuation of the contents of gravid uterus by curettage or suction" (item 6469) of $97.50. The operation costs $130. There is one rebate for the "induction and management of second trimester labour (12 to 24 weeks into pregnancy)" (item nos 274 (GP) and 275 (Specialist)) which is $178 (Medicate rebate $135.50).Available Statistics
5. The 1987 statistical report of a NSW termination clinic on over 4,500 women who had a first termination in that year gave the following profile -
6. A woman who wishes to terminate a pregnancy treats this as a medical problem and mainly (75.1%) seeks medical advice (doctor/clinic/hospital).
7. Medical opinion will consistently be that from the physical point of view, if the termination is conducted within the first 12 weeks of conception under proper medical conditions by skilled workers and with appropriate counselling, there will be minimal complications for early termination.
Courses of action now being pursued within the area covered by the Diocese
8. The Federal Government -
9. The State Government -
10. The State courts -
11. The medical profession -
12. Various agencies provide adoption facilities but only a nominal number of children are available for adoption (average 200 children pa in NSW in 1988 down from 3,000 children pa in the 1970's against an estimated 2,000 plus couples seeking to adopt).
13. The introduction of the supporting mother's benefit has enabled many more single mothers to continue caring for their children rather than consider adoption. Also, changes in community values and attitudes have lessened the social stigma of single parenthood and in some social groups there is a stigma associated with surrendering a child.
14. Within the diocesan organisations -
15. The Australian Institute of Family Planning (Melbourne) (AIFP) is one of a number of professional organisations acting as well researched national advocates on behalf of all aspects of the Australian family.
16. The Federal Government through the Australian Bureau of Statistics produces annual reports on births, marriages, deaths and other surveys such as children in NSW Census 86 (0-14 years). From the latter report a relevant statistic amongst a number relevant to any steps the Diocese might consider taking is the following.
17. Of the 300,000 known pregnancies a year, it can be expected that a significant proportion were unplanned. For many women the pregnancy is accepted and the necessary adjustments made. However, where the pregnancy is not expected and not accepted termination is often seen as the alternative.
18. For the woman who has an unplanned pregnancy, the termination clinic report indicates the constraints on her. The woman must make a decision quickly and in a social environment which approves termination. As a Medicare approved expense her financial burden is minimal. She must consider her marital status (71-45% are not in a married or defacto relationship), her future (21.72% 19 years or younger), her finances (43.97% are in employment), the medical and psychological consequences and the advice available to her from the time when she finds she is pregnant. 19. The committee sees the Christian response to pregnancy as part of its response to all human relationships. There is a responsibility to make known sensitively and clearly scriptural teaching about the sanctity of human life and the implications of this teaching for family relationships.
20. The parents of over 300,000 children nominate an Anglican Church affiliation. The parents of over 75% of the children of NSW (938,258 children) declare an affiliation with a Christian denomination.
21. There may need to be improved communication by the Anglican Church to Anglicans at the parish level and to the wider community on its position in relation to scriptural teaching on the sanctity of life and family relationships.
"With a view to recommending to Synod any courses of action, additional to those now being pursued within the Diocese, which will bring the Christian response more effectively to that situation"
22. That this report be referred to relevant diocesan organisations* with a view to them coming together to consider present and future strategies in the following areas -
23. That a working party be convened by the General Secretary, HMS or his nominee to consider ways of implementing strategies in the above areas, each of the relevant diocesan organisations to be asked to nominate a person to that working party.
24. That this report be forwarded to Area Deans with the request that the report be considered by members and any submissions or comments forwarded to the working party.
25. That Synod request the Archbishop to appoint a committee to consider the establishment of a diocesan research unit to make submissions on behalf of the Diocese at state and federal level in relation to proposed or anticipated government changes to legislation affecting the family on an ongoing basis and to improve diocesan liaison with other professional organisations representing the family. For and on behalf of the Committee
2 June 1989
* The committee considers "relevant diocesan organisations" to include Home Mission Society (HMS), Board of Education, Youth Department, Information Office, Boys' Society, Girls Friendly Society, Moore Theological College, Anglican Counselling Centre, Mothers' Union, Anglican Schools.
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