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By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

CANBERRA, AU, June 4, 2008 ( – There are two countries in the world, Australia and the USA, that refuse to allow their foreign aid monies to be used to fund abortion in developing nations. Now the Australian Labour government under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is reconsidering its country’s position.

Australia’s ban on aid money being spent on abortion was established 12 years ago by the former conservative government led by John Howard, who was a close ally of the US. In 2001, US President George Bush banned funding to international family planning groups that offered abortion services.

Mr. Howard lost last November’s election to centre-left Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the governing Labour party has been asked to debate a report produced by the Parliamentary Group on Population and Development (PGPD) which focuses on lifting the ban.

Conservative opposition Senator Ron Boswell told an ABC interviewer, “There has been no country that has come to us and specifically said we want aid to fund abortions. If we are going to give money, there’s plenty of ways to give it. Health, clean water, food, but if someone wants to fund abortion, let it not be us.”

Senator Boswell warned that Prime Minister Rudd – a regular churchgoer – could expect a voter backlash among Christians if the ban is overturned.

“All bets will be off with the churches as far as Mr. Rudd is concerned,” he told ABC. “He cuddled up to the churches for the last election. If he does this to them then they’ll turn upon him.”

While some members of the main opposition Liberal Party support lifting the ban, party leader Brendan Nelson said that while birth control advice could be appropriate, “I don’t believe that Australian aid money should be used to support abortion.”

The main argument used by those advocating the use of foreign aid to promote abortion is to give women in developing countries the same “rights” as women have in Australia, where abortion is available virtually on demand throughout the country.

Australian Greens leader Senator Bob Brown said, “I think there’ll be a big backlash against Senator Boswell and others by the majority in Australia who would support this very civilised way of behaving. That is, treat people overseas the way we treat people here in Australia, give them the same rights where we can.”

West Australian Liberal backbencher Mal Washer, chairman of the PGPD, said, “No one likes abortion – I don’t like abortion – but it is ridiculous that we can’t give any advice to women overseas about abortion at a time when the government funds abortion advice to women in this country.”

However, Washer failed to address what the result of the Australian government’s funding of “abortion advice to women” was. Stats show that the state of Victoria reports that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in abortion. This high abortion rate combined with Australian couples increasingly having only one child may portend a demographic collapse for the country.

A report today by says that according to a Macquarie University study published in the independent academic magazine, Journal of Population Research, the percentage of Australian couples having only one child increased from 8 per cent in 1991 to 11 per cent in 2001, and could be 15 per cent by 2021.

The report explained that although they can afford more children, many couples are choosing not to have them because they are intent on “getting ahead,” and believe single children were “higher quality” and more likely to succeed with more parental attention.

The report also cited China’s controversial one-child policy as affecting the Australian fertility rate.

“Australian women born in South-East Asia, particularly China, are more likely to have just one child. Some of these women may have been sterilised, or coerced in their birth country, but some genuinely preferred only one child. Women who were not married at the time of the first birth are also more likely to stop at one child, reflecting the greater instability of non-marriage relationships.”

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