Susie Wang and Wilson Huang

Week 8, Semester 1, 2020

Hey everyone! My name is Wilson, and I am one of the interfaith officers in 2020. I understand that many of us are going through tough times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you would like some basic support, please visit coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/ or email the SRC caseworkers at help@src.usyd.edu.au.

Reflections on the religious freedom bill:
I previously wrote a submission on the second draft of the religious freedom bill which is available on the government’s public submission page. My main concerns were that the bill would negatively impact social cohesion and would privilege religious rights over other human rights. I was especially concerned at how the bill would affect queer people of faith as they’re the people who would likely bear the full brunt of the bill. I believe that it is generally not appropriate for religious organisations or people to discriminate if they’re providing essential medical care or social/civil services. Numerous faith-based community organisations have opposed the current bill including Uniting Vic.Tas, Sacred Heart Mission, Anglicare Victoria, Jewish Care Victoria, Jesuit Social Services, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand and McAuley Community Services for Women. equalityaustralia.org.au/faithorgstatement/

Abortion is an essential health service:
Numerous US states have attempted to use the COVID-19 pandemic to restrict abortion rights. This is a dangerous thing to do especially in the middle of a pandemic. While I understand that abortion can elicit very personal responses, it does not change the realities of people who need them. Abortion is a safe medical procedure which may be necessary in cases including, but not limited to, sexual assault, severe fetal abnormalities and ectopic pregnancies. Restricting abortion rights is likely to lead us to a situation where unsafe abortions become the norm. We need to trust people to make decisions regarding their reproductive health in good faith.
If you would like to get in contact with me about anything, please email interfaith.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.