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Bishops’ taskforce on abortion intends to listen closely to women

The Taskforce on Pastoral Responses to Abortion, established by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, has met again in Sydney.

Announced after the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Plenary in November 2004, the taskforce is investigating ways in which the Church can improve its support for women, their partners and families so as to enable and encourage them to continue with an unexpected or difficult pregnancy.

Following last week’s meeting the Chairman of the taskforce, Bishop Eugene Hurley, said that while abortion had faded from the media spotlight in recent months, the taskforce remained committed to promoting realistic alternatives to abortion.

Bishop Hurley said a comprehensive survey of Church sponsored or affiliated services for women, their partners and families was already well under way.

“There are already many signs of hope and expressions of love and practical concern for pregnant women within the Catholic community,” he said.

In future months the taskforce will listen closely to women in order to better understand the circumstances leading to unwanted pregnancies and the pressures placed upon women to abort.

“We want to listen and learn from the lived experiences of women, their partners and families, who are considering or have been involved in abortion,” Bishop Hurley said. “The Church is already doing a lot to help, but we hope to do more.”

The taskforce will identify and recommend ways of responding to gaps in current services for pregnant women, and identify practices which could be made more welcoming to pregnant women and new mothers.

The taskforce will make an interim report to the bishops at their May Plenary.

Released by the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference

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