Australia Pregnancy Hotline Gets Catholic Help, Abortion Advocates Upset

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 2, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Pregnancy Hotline Gets Catholic Help, Abortion Advocates Upset Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 2
, 2007

Canberra, Australia ( — A new pregnancy advice hotline the Australia government is putting together to help reduce the number of abortions there will get help from a Catholic agency. But the partnership is drawing criticism from abortion advocates.

The Catholic welfare agency Centacare will put together guidelines for the hotline, which has pro-abortion groups worried that its pro-life position will bias the service against abortion.

Health Minister Tony Abbott told the Herald Sun newspaper that the partnership will not compromise the credibility and integrity of the pregnancy counseling service.

"Everyone has their own personal views and values, but that doesn’t stop people from delivering professional services," he said.

"One of the reasons why we have so many abortions in this country is that we do not offer enough support to women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant," Abbott added.

But Devora Lieberman of the Sexual Health and Family Planning Australia says women need to know all of the options, including abortion, even though women routinely don’t get them from abortion businesses.

She wants the hotline to make a commitment to referring women to abortion centers.

"Any organization involved in the tender needs to publicly indicate that they support referral for potential pregnancy termination and/or emergency contraception," she told the newspaper.

Centacare chief executive Bernard Boerma defended his group’s involvement.

"It is about providing information to assist women to make their own decisions, rather than trying to influence women on one course or another," he told the Herald Sun.

Abortion advocates in Australia have, like their American counterparts, been increasingly targeting pregnancy centers and hotlines that provide abortion alternatives.

The centers have provided women with tangible resources and lowered abortions. That has cut into the abortion industry’s bottom line.

In December, a group of pro-abortion lawmakers filed legislation to force the centers to include information in their advertising saying they don’t refer women to abortion businesses. The bill would require abortion facilities to include a statement in their ads saying they don’t typically refer women to pregnancy centers for abortion options.