KOCHI: THE Syro-Malabar Church and the Archdiocese of Verapoly have come out against the Union Cabinet’s decision to extend the upper time limit for permitting abortions from the present 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
The Cabinet had approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 on January 29.
Urging the Central government to withdraw the proposed amendment, the Syro-Malabar Synodal Commission on Sunday termed the decision a violation of the right to live.
“Destroying a foetus just three months away from its birth does not suit a country that gives importance to ahimsa,” said a spokesperson of the Church. Stating that the basic aim of a law should be to ensure the welfare of the people, the Commission claimed this amendment would result in more abortions than what happened after the implementation of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
“If the government aims a progressive reform through this, they should clarify what development they aim to bring in by killing innocent babies,” the spokesperson added.
‘Elected representatives should react’
Meanwhile, Verapoly Archbishop Dr Joseph Kalathiparambil said the government should take the value of life seriously and refrain from killing more babies by amending the Act. He also urged the elected representatives to come out against the move.
“Everyone who understands the value of a life should protest against the Bill. We shouldn’t remain silent when innocent babies are being killed. If we choose not to react, all of us will be responsible for their death. Around 15.6 million abortions took place in India in 2015. If the new Act gets implemented, this number will be doubled. Our land should always remain one that respects and welcomes human life,” the Archbishop said.
“The Catholic church will always be pro-life. We are planning to give a petition to the Central government requesting it not to implement this Act. This will either be done directly by the Verapoly Archdiocese, or along with the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC),” said the spokesperson of Verapoly Archdiocese.
What the Bill entails
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 seeks to enhance the upper gestation limit for abortion from 20 weeks to 24 weeks for special categories of women including survivors of rape, victims of incest, minors, differently-abled women etc.