Australia’s Health Minister speaks out on abortion


Australia’s Health Minister Tony Abbott is worried about the number of abortions in the country, and he has called for a public debate in the House despite public opposition from Coalition colleagues for a debate.

"Do we really think 100,000 abortions a year represents Australia's best self? That's the issue I think people need to ponder," he said, according to The Australian.

"I think women's right to choose is a good principle, but is it an unforced choice?” he asked. “Are people being railroaded into this by parents, husbands, boyfriends and the culture of convenience? I think that's a question we will consider."

South Australian senator and Senate whip Jeannie Ferris said Abbott's remarks overlooked what an emotionally traumatic experience abortion is for women.

"It suggests that all of this pain and emotionally traumatic experience is only borne by women and not by men," she said.

Coalition MPs received a letter from party whip Kerry Bartlett Monday urging them not to talk to the media about abortion, but the letter was widely ignored by MPs who have been outspoken on the issue.

Abbott, Nationals leader John Anderson and South Australian Liberal Christopher Pyne have raised concerns about the number and timing of abortions in Australia.

Abbott said no one is proposing changes to the country’s abortion laws at this point. But MPs want the debate, particularly on the issue of late-term abortions. Some in the Coalition are looking at a private member's bill that would restrict late-term abortions. 

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