Australian Christian Lobby wants Turnbull government to reinstate foreign aid abortion ban

The Australian Christian Lobby is urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's government to reinstate a foreign aid abortion ban which was introduced by John Howard but was abolished by Kevin Rudd.

(AAP / Paul Miller / via REUTERS)Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during a news conference in Sydney, Australia, July 10, 2016.

In an interview with Fairfax Media last week, ACL's spokesperson on women's issues, Wendy Francis, said having access to fresh water and clean birthing facilities is more important for women in developing countries compared to getting access to abortion services. She also said Australia's foreign aid program is a form of "colonialism" because it forces the practice of abortion on women who are against it.

"In many countries, abortion is not seen as something women want," Francis told Fairfax Media in the interview.

ACL is urging the Turnbull government to implement something similar to the foreign aid abortion ban that U.S. President Donald trump signed on Jan. 23. The presidential memorandum that the American leader issued brought back the Mexico City Policy, which will block millions' worth of federal funding for abortion services being performed abroad, Life News explains.

In the wake of Trump's memorandum, at least 10 countries have vowed to spend an additional $49 million on abortions if groups like the International Planned Parenthood Federation is defunded. The Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark have each pledged to increase spending on abortion and contraceptives abroad by €10 million.

Australia, on the other hand, had announced that it would contribute $7.3 million (AU$9.5 million) to support the global abortion fund. Other countries that have confirmed their contribution to the fund include Sweden, Finland, Cape Verde, and Luxemburg.

Life News suggests that the Western nations' move to increase funding for pro-abortion groups may cause a rift between the Trump administration and these countries. However, the publication also notes that the majority of Americans do not want taxpayer money to be used on abortions abroad, based on a Marist poll.

Meanwhile, ACL said it will focus on the issue of abortion as they approach the 2019 federal election. Francis said she does not have any qualms about contraception and has affirmed the need for "good education on safe sex" but still expressed objection to using foreign aid money for abortions.

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