Australia Health Minister: Keep Ban on Tax Funds for Overseas Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 11, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Health Minister: Keep Ban on Tax Funds for Overseas Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 11, 2006

Canberra, Australia ( — Australia Health Minister Tony Abbott says he favors keeping a ban that is currently in place which prohibits the federal government there from spending taxpayer funds training abortion practitioners in other nations. The ban in similar to one in the United States that President Bush put in place to keep federal funds from promoting or performing abortions overseas.

A multiparty group of members of parliament is calling for a change in the Australian law saying women are dying from illegal abortions in other countries.

Abbott, who was defeated in Parliament over the issue of allowing the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug to be sold in Australia, says he is "comfortable with the existing policy."

Asked about women dying from illegal abortions in other nations, Abbott told The Age newspaper that funding abortion with Australians’ money won’t change whether abortion is safe or not. Women die and suffer a wide range of medical and emotional complications from legal abortions as well.

"No one wants to see that kind of thing happening, but nevertheless I am comfortable with the existing policy," he said.

"I am not sure that anything that Australia does is necessarily in and of itself going to eliminate that particular tragic problem," he added.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who oversees the foreign aid budget, has also rejected calls to change the policy.

"The Australian Government does not support the funding of abortion training or services, research trials or activities directly involving abortion," he said.

Queensland Liberal MP Michael Johnson, told The Age he wants to see the policy change and said he was "very uncomfortable with that state of affairs."

"Australia should revisit this area of health policy. We are seen as an outstanding international citizen and (a change) would only enhance our reputation," he said.

Johnson is the former head of the Parliamentary Population and Development Group, a pro-abortion organization that is pressing to spend taxpayer funds on abortion.

The group also wants Australia to join the Global Safe Abortion Fund which has seen pro-abortion nations spend millions of dollars to promote abortion worldwide. It is meant to counter the $47 million President Bush won’t send to the United Nation’s Population Fund because of its efforts promoting China’s coercive one-child population control policy.

China has come under worldwide criticism because the policy includes forced abortions and sterilizations, imprisonment, and other forms of governmental harassment and intimidation.