By Peter J. Smith

CANBERRA, September 12, 2006 ( – Australia’s Foreign Minister has ordered a review of the nation’s decade long ban on overseas funding for abortion in response to mounting political pressure according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The Morning Herald reports that Workforce Participation Minister Sharman Stone said yesterday Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has ordered a review of the pro-life legislation inspired by retired senator Brian Harradine of Tasmania in 1996.

Dr. Stone, speaking for the Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, said the group lauded the funding review and welcomed any policy changes that would augment abortion funding in neighboring countries.
  Lately, abortion proponents have escalated pressure on the government to change its policy (similar to a US ban on foreign funding of abortion) claiming concern that “unsafe” abortions are costing the lives of thousands of women in Australia’s neighboring countries, where abortion is “legal”.

In today’s parliamentary roundtable discussion, Dr. Suzanne Belton, a Charles Darwin University researcher, writes that “unsafe” abortions cause between 13 and 25 per cent of maternal deaths worldwide. Belton cited the high death rates in Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Myanmar (Burma).

“In order to reduce maternal mortality, Australian aid money should focus on the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and access to high quality post-abortion care and safe abortion,” Dr. Belton said.

“We cannot continue to cordon off abortion as though it doesn’t happen,” said Belton who maintains Australia undertook an obligation to fund international abortion when it signed the 1983 international Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Dr. Belton’s abortion death statistics are seen to be ridiculous fiction by experienced international pro-life leaders. That is because gross exaggeration and the use of unprovable abortion-caused death statistics has long been a strategy of abortion advocates.

Pro-life convert Dr Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League (N.A.R.A.L.), has admitted that abortion advocates consistently lied about maternal deaths from illegal U.S. abortions.

In his book Aborting America, Nathanson wrote: “In N.A.R.A.L., we generally emphasized the drama of the individual case, not the mass statistics, but when we spoke of the latter it was always “5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year.” I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the “morality” of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics?

The former chief statistician for Planned Parenthood and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. Christopher Tietze, wrote in the 1969 edition of Scientific American, at a time when abortion was still prohibited in the U.S., “The total number of deaths from all causes among women of reproductive age in the U.S. is not more than about 50,000 per year. The National Center for Health Statistics listed 235 deaths from abortion in 1965. Total mortality from illegal abortions was undoubtedly larger than that figure, but in all likelihood it was under 1,000.”

Health Minister Tony Abbott, a pro-life bastion in the Howard government, has already voiced his opposition to changing the nation’s existing ban on foreign aid for abortion, saying he was comfortable with the government’s current policy. Pro-life supporters expect that Abbott will vigorously defend any challenge to the Harradine ban, just like he defended a former Harradine ban on the abortifacient drug RU-486.

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