For release: January 18, 2010

Jim Wallace Speaking

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today called on the Federal Government to reverse its decision to scrap the National Pregnancy Support Helpline, saying it provides a vital non-directive counselling service which has assisted thousands of women facing unsupported or unintended pregnancies.

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said that the initiative to set up and run the pregnancy support line was one of only a very small number of initiatives taken at a federal level to assist women to have a genuine choice when facing an unsupported pregnancy.

“Despite attempts to downplay use of the service, it has assisted several thousand pregnant women and helped them to be better informed about the options available to them, free from the vested interests of counselling provided by abortion clinics. Every time one woman has been helped through a difficult situation in her life it has been money well spent,” Mr Wallace said.

“Polling conducted by Sexton Marketing in 2004 revealed that 99% of people believe women considering abortion should have access to counselling, and that 94% think all alternatives should be seriously considered before exercising this option. Surely this is exactly the kind of professional assistance thousands of women have been receiving through the hotline!

“We urge the Government to continue the service and better promote the helpline, so that it helps even more women in need. The proposal to start a perinatal helpline dealing with issues such as depression appears to be a good one, but it should be undertaken in addition to the specific pregnancy counselling service – not instead of it.”

Mr Wallace said that the majority of Australians – and even most Federal politicians – would like to see Australia’s very high abortion rate reduced, but very little action is actually being taken to achieve this.

“To now learn that such an important pregnancy counselling service is to be scrapped is deeply disappointing, as it is only likely to increase the number of abortions in Australia.”

Mr Wallace said abortion activists had disparaged the pregnancy counselling service right from the beginning, lobbying hard for it to be scrapped and hampering the effective promotion of the service.

“Despite this the service has helped large numbers of women and we urge the Government not to abolish it but to instead ensure it is better promoted so that more women can benefit from it.”

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan on 0408 875 979.