Australia Greens Threaten to Force Vote Soon for International Abortion Funding

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 3, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Greens Threaten to Force Vote Soon for International Abortion Funding

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 3
, 2009

Canberra, Australia ( — Members of the Green Party in the Australia Parliament threaten to force MPs to consider voting for international abortion funding if the nation’s government doesn’t act soon. If Prime Minister Kevin Rudd doesn’t authorize funding of pro-abortion groups, the party will seek a conscience vote.

Like the United States prior to the election of President Barack Obama, Australia prohibits forcing taxpayers to fund groups that perform or promote abortions overseas.

Obama promised during the presidential campaign that he wanted to reduce abortions but during his first week in office he voted to overturn pro-life protections against funding them.

While the government of conservative former prime minister John Howard prevented the Australian Agency for International Development from promoting abortions, pro-abortion MPs have pushed Rudd to repeal the policy.

The policy has been place for 13 years and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, who can change the policy without legislation needed in parliament, has been considering whether to do so.

But Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young tells The Age newspaper that Smith is taking too long and she and her colleagues want to force the parliament vote.

"The government’s assurances that it will do something soon are starting to ring hollow after all this time," she said.

"If Minister Smith cannot find the will to allow Australia’s foreign aid to flow fairly to programs that will undoubtedly save the lives of women in our region, the Greens will move to ensure that the funding of such programs is not merely at the whim of the minister," she added.

Smith tells the newspaper a final decision is forthcoming but did not provide a timetable for making it.

Nationals Senator Ron Boswell, who is pro-life, has said Rudd and members of his government could face a backlash if he approves taxpayer funding of international abortions.
Boswell says there has been no request from nations around the world to fund abortions in their countries.

"I don’t want this to happen and there has been no country that has come to us and specifically said we want aid to fund abortions," Senator Boswell told ABC radio.

"As far as Mr Rudd is concerned, he cuddled up to the churches for the last election — if he does this to them then they’ll turn upon him," Boswell added.

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