Australian Abortion Debate Continues, Catholic Church Weighs In

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 10, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australian Abortion Debate Continues, Catholic Church Weighs In Email this article
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by Maria Vitale Gallagher Staff Writer
November 10, 2004

Canberra, Australia ( — A number of government and clergy leaders are increasing pressure to reduce Australia’s abortion rate.

Health Minister Tony Abbott, Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, and Special Minister of State Eric Abetz have called for a debate about Medicare funding of abortions.

And Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne says he welcomes the renewed debate on abortion, calling Australia’s 100,000 abortions a year a “huge suffering.”

In his statement, Hart said, "Our youngest and oldest human beings have an equal right to life and dignity that we now give to children and adults. Discussion has rightly focused on compassion for women, while ignoring compassion for the child in the womb, who is the silent partner in this debate."

“We, as a society, need to reflect more clearly on the beginning, the end, and the value of each human life,” Hart added.

Meanwhile, the Family First Party has ushered out West Australian Liberal Rod Sweetman after he refused to recant his support for the decriminalization of abortion six years ago.

Australia appears to be in the throes of a divisive political debate over abortion. Health Minister Abbott has called abortion an “epidemic” and Health parliamentary secretary Christopher Pyne has called for a ban on late-term abortions.

According to a recent news report, women seeking abortions in Australia are increasingly over the age of 40.

Abortionist Geoffrey Brodie told the Australian newspaper that, between 1993 and 2003, there has been a 250 percent increase in abortion among women in their ‘40s.

"It’s women over 30 we are seeing the real growth in," Brodie told the Australian.

Brodie adds that Asian immigrants also make up a large share of his clientele.

“Asian women don’t have the ‘Christian overhang,’ with the guilt and other moral issues…" Brodie told the Australian.

However, pro-life activists note that abortion operations such as Planned Parenthood routinely target minority women, leading them to believe that abortion is their only option when faced with an unexpected pregnancy.