Anonymously authored anti-abortion leaflets in Canberra have targeted Scott Morrison for remaining “silent” while states including New South Wales have pushed to decriminalise abortion.
The flyer – which is not authorised but is marked as from the End Violence Against Unborn Babies Coalition – is almost identical to one targeting the Berejiklian government with inflammatory rhetoric comparing abortion to murder in Nazi concentration camps.
Before the 2019 election Morrison described abortion as a “controversial and sensitive issue”, accusing Labor of trying to “divide” Australia over the issue by proposing a suite of policies to improve access to safe and legal abortions.
But as the Liberal-National government in NSW moves to allow a conscience vote on the issue, Morrison has stayed out of the debate despite the former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott and the Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce weighing in against decriminalisation.
The leaflet tells Morrison: “No, prime minister – It’s not okay to remain silent while we sanction the destruction of little boys and girls, for any reason, at any time, up to birth.
“Prime minister Scott Morrison doesn’t want to talk about babies being killed by abortion. Who does? But when it has become open season on these children, we know we must.”
The leaflet quotes a dictum often used by Morrison in other contexts that “the standard you walk past … is the standard you accept” to urge him to enter the debate.
The claim that NSW’s proposed legislation would allow abortion “up to birth” has been rejected by doctors, lawyers and the co-sponsors of the bill who note it allows abortions up to 22 weeks after which two doctors must approve the procedure, which is rare after the second trimester.
In the most controversial section, the flyer compares pastor Paul Schneider – who it says decried murder in a Nazi concentration camp – to anti-abortion campaigners and warns that people who “murder or are complicit … in the murder of unborn babies” will face God’s judgment.
Buzzfeed Australia first reported on similar flyers being distributed in 2018 when the Palaszczuk Labor government in Queensland decriminalised abortion and again earlier in September in NSW.
Nothing is known about the End Violence Against Unborn Babies Coalition – which has no internet presence explaining who paid for and distributed the flyers.
Darlinghurst woman Michelle Dennis told Buzzfeed she and her neighbours were offended by the flyer, one of them, a doctor, was especially upset because “there were so many medical lies about the actual procedure”.
“It uses really graphic and violent language with really offensive imagery, like they say abortions involve tearing a foetus ‘limb from limb’, which is pretty full-on,” she reportedly said. “I feel sorry for anyone else who got the pamphlet and doesn’t have anyone to talk to about it.”
In the 2019 election Labor was targeted by anti-abortion campaign group Cherish Life, which distributed material warning that “more babies would die under a Bill Shorten Labor government” and accusing Labor of an “extreme late-term abortion agenda”.
STORY FROM THE GUARDIAN