by Steven Ertelt
January 3, 2008
Canberra, Australia (LifeNews.com) — The media in Australia are blasting an abortion and pregnancy hotline the government there established and it claims it is not reaching enough women to justify the cost. The previous government established the hotline and the new Labor government says it supports keeping it in place and emphasized it was too early to evaluate it.
The Australian used a freedom of information request to learn that the pregnancy helpline has received 2238 calls, or about 320 a month in the seven months it has operated.
The newspaper, in a Thursday article, claimed that wasn’t enough to justify the $15.5 million AU cost ($13.3 million US).
It ran an article with the headline "Abbott’s abortion hotline a failure" and claimed it "has been shunned by women" and has neither met government expectations nor assisted more women than a previous, privately run hotline."
Health Minister Nicola Roxon told the paper the new Rudd government would monitor the hotline but that the government supported keeping it in place.
"We support the continued provision of balanced information and support but we’re keeping a close eye on the pregnancy support line," Roxon’s spokesman said. "It’s still early days."
A department spokeswoman added that "initial feedback has confirmed that callers have found the service to be of assistance."
"The helpline has been designed to assist women, their partners and family to access non-directive counseling in a timely fashion when experiencing an unplanned pregnancy," the representative told the newspaper.
The administration of Prime Minister John Howard put together the abortion counseling program to help reduce the number of abortions in the island nation.
"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," former Health Minister Tony Abbott told the media at the time.