Australia Won’t Vote on Taxpayer-Funding of Intl Abortion Until After Elections

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 22, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Won’t Vote on Taxpayer-Funding of Intl Abortion Until After Elections Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 22,

Canberra, Australia ( — The government of Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard plans to wait until after the next elections before allowing Parliament to hold a vote on whether to force taxpayers to fund international groups that perform or promote abortions. The nation has a ban that is similar to one in the United States.

Liberal MP Mal Washer, who is heading a group of backbenchers wanting a vote on the abortion funding, said he was "resigned" to having to wait for a vote.

"Sometimes it’s wiser to wait," Washer told the Brisbane Times, adding that neither of the two biggest parties are ready to officially lead an effort to overturn the funding ban.

Washer said it would help his effort to wait until a time when lawmakers aren’t worries about losing their seats in the parliament by voting for taxpayer-funded abortions.

The government put the funding ban in place when it came to an agreement with former senator Brian Harradine. Since then, a group of 50 MPs has been putting together an effort to reverse the decision.

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."

That Washer 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.

He 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.