Australian government reconsidering ban on foreign aid funding for abortion
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The Australian government is considering overturning a 12-year-old policy prohibiting the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) from funding abortion advice, training and services in developing countries.

Opponents of the policy change say it is driven by domestic ideological concerns rather than requests from aid-receiving nations.  Those supporting a revamp of the current policy claim it harms women in the Asia-Pacific region’s poorest countries, Cybercast News Service reports.

The present Australian policy was instated by the Liberal-National coalition government of former Prime Minister John Howard due to the work of pro-life independent senator Brian Harradine.

There is growing support for the “Harradine guidelines” to be overturned.  A cross-party parliamentary group in May 2007 called the policy “cruel and illogical” and claimed it effectively encouraged unsafe illegal abortions.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Labor government is now examining the issue.  Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, who can lift the restrictions without any legislative action, has asked the Labor caucus to debate the issue and recommend what action to take, if any.

Senator Ron Boswell of the National Party is leading efforts to preserve the regulations.  He asked a Senate hearing on government expenditure whether AusAID recipient countries had requested abortion-related funding.

"The [foreign affairs] department responded that they were not aware of any particular requests to fund abortion related activities," he said.

"Why is the Rudd government even considering funding abortion in its overseas aid programs when Australia has never done so in the past and has not been approached by other countries to do so?"

Boswell said churches and church aid agencies would oppose “any decision to use Australia's overseas aid programs to further the ideological aims of a pro-abortion lobby group at home.”  Boswell predicted a backlash from Christian voters if the policy is changed.

According to Cybercast News Service, Labor lawmaker Bob McMullan said some Australians share Boswell’s view of the policy, but “a large bulk of people” did not feel passionately about it, and others opposed it.

The Harradine guidelines have been compared to the U.S. government’s “Mexico City Policy,” which denies aid funds to non-governmental organizations that promote or perform abortions.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 19, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Judg 13: 2-7, 24-25A
Gospel:: Lk 1: 5-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27