Media Release

Thursday, 29 January, 2009

At a time when soaring food prices and the economic downturn are driving millions more into poverty overseas, Australia should not be blindly following America’s lead by diverting precious aid dollars towards funding abortions, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today.

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said the Parliamentary Group on Population & Development (PGPD) pushing to overturn Australia’s long-standing ban on using aid money for abortions are trying to impose the pro-abortion ideological stance of many of them on Australia’s aid program.

“The PGPD was exposed last year as pushing for taxpayer funding of late abortions for disabled babies to save money from the disability services budget. In a submission to a Senate Inquiry lodged by PGPD chair Senator Claire Moore, the group argued that disabled people are expensive to look after and therefore Medicare should continue to fund late abortions,” Mr Wallace said.

“This stance clearly devalues life and should not be used as an ethos to underpin aid funding decisions which should be aimed at providing life and hope to those in desperate need overseas.

“Other proponents of the ban being overturned include the world’s biggest abortion provider, Marie Stopes International, which clearly has a vested interest in gaining more dollars for their services.”

Mr Wallace said that Australia’s long-standing policy on this issue currently provides for safe and effective family planning methods, including contraception.

“Surely the best way to address maternal health concerns overseas is to fund maternal health programs to help women experience a healthy pregnancy and a safe delivery? Trained midwives, blood stocks and a clean birthing environment are far more effective in preventing maternal death than providing abortions.

“The many Christians who have strongly supported the Millennium Development Goals to increase overseas aid to poor countries would be appalled if this money went towards funding abortions.

“The great majority of Christians clearly voted for Australia to provide life in underdeveloped countries, not the death of nature’s most vulnerable,” Mr Wallace said.

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan