Australia lifts abortion aid ban

From Australian Broadcasting Comission newsmailAbortion aid ban lifted despite Rudd’s [Prime Minister] opposition*

The Federal Government has overturned rules that ban overseas aid funding being used for abortions.

In 1996 the Howard government banned Australia’s overseas development funding from being used in health programs involving terminations.

US President Barack Obama overturned a similar ban when he took office earlier this year and the Federal Government has been under pressure to follow suit.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith has been reviewing the rules and has decided to overturn the ban.

Mr Smith says the change will mean women in developing countries will have the same options as those in Australia, if local laws allow terminations.

But he says Australian aid funding will still focus on avoiding abortions through family planning.

After Mr Smith made the announcement in a Labor Party meeting this morning Prime Minister Kevin Rudd thanked him for the way the debate had been handled and said a clear majority of Caucus supported the change.

But Mr Rudd said he was personally not in support of the change.

Queensland Senator John Hogg also said he represented a group of MPs who disagreed with the change.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the move was long overdue.

“Australia, until this morning, was the last country who had these ridiculous, archaic, inhumane restrictions placed on our aid funding and support,” she said.

“What we now see is Australia has stepped up in line with Barack Obama, who in his very first week as President moved to ensure that these restrictions would be lifted.”:mad:

Lord have mercy.

I wrote a Letter to the Editor about it. We need to be vocal when these kinds of laws / decisions are made on our behalf.

Not all Australians support access to abortion - how does it make us look to those countries we are endeavouring to help when we are promoting a culture of death, not life ?

And what shall we say of Australia, is there still Orthodox Catholicism there?

These are more concerning developments!

IMHO the one person I will blame for this change is still BHO. The removal of restrictions by the USA will lead to many other countries to do the same thing. So BHO is leading others to play follow the perceived leader.:mad:

I think that’s probable. And yes, there are lots of othodox Australian Catholics, even on both sides of politics but they get sidelined as “Catholic Conservative John Smith” etc in the media, and their views are thus not taken seriously.

To be fair, the Prime Minister himself is a reasonably conservative Christian educated in Catholic schools but he doesn’t seem to have the backbone or support from his party to stand up for his beliefs by resisting pressure from hard line activists.

**Some Catholics Call for Reverse of Abortion Aid Decision **

By Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese
Director, Catholic Communications
10/3/2009

“The Government’s decision to lift the ban on Australian overseas aid being used for abortion is a cause of great sadness. It is very bad news for women and unborn children in the developing world,” said Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney and Episcopal Vicar for Life and Health.

“Estimates Committee hearings last year made it clear that no country has approached Australia to fund abortion services. But the ideologues seem determined to bring abortion to these poorer nations, whether they are asking for it or not. It is the kind of cultural imperialism that causes real resentment in developing nations. The Prime Minister has every right to be concerned,” Bishop Fisher said.

"Every pregnant mother has a right to the care and support necessary for her to give birth to a healthy baby and every child has the right to be born and supported thereafter. This right also belongs to people in developing countries, and that’s where we could be doing more to help.

"Instead of using taxpayer dollars to abort unborn children in developing countries, we should help people in these countries make life-promoting choices. Calling abortion foreign “aid” compromises Australia’s highly respected overseas development program, and makes all Australians complicit in a new assault on human life.

"A decent society like ours can surely do better for our poorer neighbours than this. **It is no help to needy people to suggest that we are advancing the Millennium Development Goals for child and maternal health by funding the abortion of their unborn children. **

“Catholics and many other Australians would share the Prime Minister’s unease about this decision, and I call on him to reverse it for the sake of Australia’s good name but especially out of respect for people in the developing world,” Bishop Fisher said.

sydney.catholic.org.au/News/MR/2009310_1429.shtml

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