Australia Ends Its Global Gag Rule

The Australian reports:

13-Year ban on Australian foreign aid for abortion has been overturned by the Rudd Government, despite [Prime Minister] Kevin Rudd being opposed to the policy shift.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has followed the lead of US President Barack Obama, who has scrapped the policy preventing non-government organisations using official funds overseas to advise about abortions or provide services.

“This was a difficult decision. This is a deeply sensitive area. It’s one where strong views are held deeply and very personally. …” Mr Smith said yesterday.

“I was left with the very distinct impression that the substantial, if not the overwhelming majority of the parliamentary members of the Labor Party believed that this was also the correct outcome.”

…Mr Smith said the change would mean women in developing countries had the same options as those in Australia, if local laws allowed terminations.

But he said that Australian aidfunding would still focus on avoiding abortions through family planning.



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