Sydney Synod has supported the San Jose Articles, launched earlier this month at the United Nations, which defend the humanity and rights of unborn children and clarify that access to abortion is not a right under international instruments.

The motion, moved by Dr Claire Smith, and accepted by Synod

a) affirms that all human life is a gift from God, and, irrespective of race, gender, ability, and socio-economic circumstances, is created in his image, with inherent dignity and value, and accordingly, that ending the life of an unborn child is to be avoided unless the mother’s own life is genuinely at risk; and

b) declares that the gospel of Jesus Christ offers complete forgiveness, healing and hope to all those who have knowingly ended the life of an unborn child; and

c) thanks God for the efforts of those responsible for the San Jose Articles, in their attempts to defend the rights of unborn children; and

d) asks the diocesan secretary to write to all federal and state members of parliament informing them of this motion, and commending the San Jose Articles.

Dr Smith recalled her days as a student nurse when she had refused to participate in ‘terminations of pregnancy’.

“I was a new Christian, and a junior nurse, and it wasn’t an easy stand to make. It made me a problem, because staffing had to be shifted around to fit with my request, and even back then hospitals were under staffed, and some of the staff were pretty cranky with the position I’d taken, and at several points there was pressure for me to help out ‘just this one time’ .But I was free to make my decision, and stick to it, and my livelihood was not affected”.

Dr Smith said the San Jose Articles are seeking to ensure that nations are free to do a similar thing by not being pressured or mislead into thinking that international instruments demand that access to abortion is a right.

Forgiveness in God

In commenting after the vote, Dr Smith stressed the forgiveness of the Christian Gospel.

"Even among the Synod, there will be those and also people known to us, who have knowingly participated in ending the life of an unborn child, firsthand, or as medical personnel, or counsellors. And the wonderful news of the gospel is that there is free and perfect forgiveness in the cross of Christ. And that the healing and hope that many women long for, can be found in him." she said.

Dr Smith continued "Indeed, the statistics on abortion in this country tell us that we have a message of forgiveness, hope and healing that many, many people need to hear: women, men, nurses, doctors, friends, advisors."

The signatories to the articles include international identities from the law, politics and human rights.