MELBOURNE, Australia, November 9, 2004 ( – Figures released by Australia’s newspaper, The Age, revealed that the teenage abortion rates in the state of Victoria have sky-rocketed a tragic 45 percent, from 760 in 1992-93 to 1107 in 2002-03—in public hospitals only. Private clinics committed 1,669 abortions in 2002-03. Among all age groups, the overall abortion incidence has climbed by 13 percent, to a total of 18,514 in 2002-03.  The Age obtained the stats, not normally available to the public, through Australia’s freedom of information law. The figures are in sharp contrast to recent claims, based on Medicare statistics, that Victoria’s abortion rate has fallen in the last 10 years. The discrepancy arises because Medicare stats are based on public hospital abortions, whereas private clinics account for 70 percent of all abortions committed.  Abortion debate intensified last week, when Christopher Pyne, a federal Liberal MP and devout Catholic, called for an end to late-term abortions – those committed beyond 21 weeks. Federal Health Minister, pro-life advocate, and fellow Catholic Tony Abbott said the 100,000 Australian abortions per year constituted “an unambiguous moral tragedy,” according to The Age account. Governor-General Michael Jeffery said he would like to see abortion procedures disappear entirely.  Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, described the tragedy of 100,000 abortions per year as “a huge suffering. Our youngest . . . human beings have an equal right to life and dignity that we give now to children and adults,” the Archbishop said.  Abortions there still remain most prevalent among women in their 20s.  Read the related report:  South Australian Victims of Late-Term, Partial-Birth Abortions are Mostly Healthy   tv