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Australian dioceses cut ties with White Ribbon for supporting national access to abortion (UPDATED)

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Controversial support: White Ribbon Australia is among organisations supporting legal abortions in Queensland.

UPDATE: WHITE Ribbon Australia has pledged its ongoing support for access to legal abortion, despite some of its supporters finding the position unacceptable, including the Brisbane archdiocese, the Parramatta diocese and other Christian groups.

Ahead of White Ribbon Day on November 25, the charity, known to many as the “Say no to violence against women” organisation said it supported “the decriminalisation of abortion (in Queensland) and nationally consistent access to safe and legal abortion and support for women throughout the process and afterwards”.

“This is one way to address reproductive coercion, which is an aspect of men’s violence against women which White Ribbon seeks to prevent,” a statement on the White Ribbon website said.

The statement is attributed to White Ribbon chair Nicholas Cowdery QC.

Brisbane archdiocese is among Catholic organisations to have supported White Ribbon Day in the past.

“In light of these developments, which are obviously a concern to us, the archdiocese is looking into any associations it has with White Ribbon,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

Brisbane Catholic Education is equally concerned about supporting White Ribbon.

“BCE has not provided information or advice to schools this year in relation to White Ribbon Day and whilst we support the anti-domestic violence aspect of the movement, we do not support any campaign or movement which promotes abortion as a form of birth control,” BCE communications and marketing manager John Phelan said.

In a statement to The Catholic Leader, the Parramatta diocese said it could not support White Ribbon Australia’s position on abortion and late-term abortion.

“The Diocese of Parramatta has written to White Ribbon advising their stance on abortion and late-term abortion is a position the Diocese of Parramatta cannot support,” a diocesan statement said.

“We advised White Ribbon that we would also write to our 47 parishes, agencies and ministries advising the same.”

Diocesan Chancellor Mercy Sister Catherine Ryan also wrote a letter to all Parramatta diocese’s parish priests, parishes ministries and agencies about White Ribbon’s abortion stance.

Last week, The Catholic Leader reported that White Ribbon had entered the Queensland election fray by supporting the “It’s Not 1899 Campaign” by Pro Choice Queensland.

White Ribbon is part of a pro-abortion coalition that includes Children by Choice, Emily’s List, Sex Party, Marie Stopes and Pro Choice Queensland.

The pro-abortion coalition is supporting candidates in the current election who have made a “pro-choice” pledge to “vote to remove abortion from the criminal code”.

South Australian Christian high school teacher Trevor Grace, who is leading a campaign highlighting White Ribbon’s pro-abortion stance, has labelled the charity’s latest statement as “hypocritical”.

“White Ribbon Australia, and the pro-abortion coalition try desperately to avert everyone’s gaze from the brutal reality of abortion, and convince themselves and others that this practice belongs to a ‘woman’s right to choose’. But this is both illogical and evil,” Mr Grace said.

“The idea of bringing in legislation to remove abortion from the criminal code, as White Ribbon Australia wants, is disturbingly brutal and callous.

“It would strip away the right for each of these children to be valued, loved and protected from being violently killed.”

 

Original story published November 8, 2017

Controversy growing after White Ribbon pledges support for decriminalising abortion in Queensland 

WHITE Ribbon Australia, known as the “Say no to violence against women” organisation is under scrutiny for supporting late-term abortion.

The nationally-recognised charity has also entered the Queensland election fray by supporting the “It’s Not 1899 Campaign” by Pro Choice Queensland.

White Ribbon is named alongside organisations supporting candidates in the current Queensland election who have made a “pro-choice” pledge to “vote to remove abortion from the criminal code”.

Ahead of White Ribbon Day on November 25, South Australian Christian high school teacher Trevor Grace and his wife Robyn, who runs Pregnancy Help SA, are leading a national campaign to inform organisations of the charity’s pro-abortion stance.

“Few people are aware that White Ribbon supports and endorses full-term abortion,” Mr Grace, a long-standing political activist, said.

He has contacted churches and Christian schools alerting them of White Ribbon Australia’s position statement on women’s reproductive rights which states that the charity believes: “Denying a woman access to contraception and abortion is a denial of basic rights to health care”.

“It is a woman’s right to choose if and when she gets pregnant. It is a woman’s right to seek an abortion,” the White Ribbon statement says.

“Because of this, we advocate for: Decriminalisation of abortion, for example we support the ‘It’s Not 1899 Campaign’ by Pro Choice Queensland.”

White Ribbon is part of a pro-abortion coalition that includes Children by Choice, Emily’s List, Sex Party, Marie Stopes and Pro Choice Queensland.

The charity has also joined the Human Rights Law Centre, Women’s Legal Service Queensland and the Queensland Council of Unions backing a push for Queensland political candidates to publicly state support for abortion.

One-hundred election candidates, including pro-abortion campaigner, independent candidate Rob Pyne, as well as  81 Greens, 17 Labor Party  and one LNP candidate have signed a pledge organised by the group Fair Agenda, which claims to champion “measures to address gendered violence and protecting reproductive rights”.

“I will vote to remove abortion from the criminal code,” the pledge states.

Mr Grace said it was “hypocrisy” for White Ribbon Australia to come out quite publicly to advocate for late-term abortion and even the decriminalisation of abortion.

“The charity (which is being supported by public figures, media personalities, politicians and social justice advocates) claims to be ‘the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end men’s violence against women and girls’,” he said.

“The irony there is that fifty per cent of the children killed in the womb are female.”

Hillsong Church, which opposes abortion but is committed to stopping family violence, has already dropped its partnership with White Ribbon.

Brisbane archdiocese is among Catholic organisations to have supported White Ribbon.

“In light of these developments, which are obviously a concern to us, the archdiocese is looking into any associations it has with White Ribbon,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

On White Ribbon Day last year, workers publicly pledged to speak up against violence.

Brisbane’s pro-life Priceless Life Centre chair Catherine Toomey described White Ribbon’s championing of abortion as “concerning”.

“Our stance is that abortion is actually domestic violence in itself,” Ms Toomey said.

“Often it’s the case that women in domestic violence situations experience forced and coerced abortion – against their will – and that is something that White Ribbon is not prepared to recognise.

“Studies time and time again show that if a man is ready to stand by his woman, abortion wouldn’t be necessary in eighty per cent of cases.”

Mr Grace contacted many Church organisations and found many were unaware of White Ribbon’s endorsement of abortion.          

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