Australia Battle Over Government-Funded Abortion Counseling Heats Up

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 30, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Battle Over Government-Funded Abortion Counseling Heats Up Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 30
, 2007

Canberra, Australia ( — Should the government of Australia force taxpayers to fund health workers in third-world nations to encourage pregnant women to have abortions or actually do the abortion itself? That’s the question members of parliament are debating as they consider a bill to overturn the funding restrictions on the practices.

Liberal MP Mal Washer is heading up a multi-party effort to scrap the pro-life policy disallowing the abortion funding.

That he would lead lawmakers wanting the abortion funding is no surprise as he also led efforts to promote the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug and to allow human cloning for research purposes.

The ban was originally put in place when former independent senator Brian Harradine worked with the ruling government to institute them.

The present guidelines say that "information that promotes abortion as a method of family planning or provides instructions on abortion procedures is not eligible for Australian aid funding."

Washer is using arguments abortion advocates normally employ by saying that women are dying from unsafe abortions in developing countries, even though legalizing abortion doesn’t make it any safer.

Lawmakers tried to get the ban overturned a few years ago when they made a presentation to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer but they were unsuccessful.

A spokesman for the minister told The Age newspaper that he would keep an open mind but made no promises about reversing the abortion funding ban.

Not all lawmakers are supportive of the idea and Nationals Senate leader Ron Boswell called making taxpayers fund abortions and abortion counseling "provocative and divisive."

Meanwhile, Jim Wallace, of the pro-life Christian group ACL, told the Christian Post that funding abortions would go against the rights of children protected in UN documents. He said the United Nation does not recognize abortion as a human right.

“Australia has a sound policy in this area, which is very much in keeping with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which provides for the special protection of children both before and after birth. The UN does not recognize abortion as a human right but instead affirms the rights of children and mothers to special care and assistance,” Wallace said.

“To change this policy would go against the rights of children, divert important aid resources, and could lead to situations where Australia would become party to abhorrent population control measures which further devalue human life," he concluded.