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Australia lifting gag rule on foreign aid for abortion.

The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) announced in March 2009 its decision to lift a 12-year ban on foreign aid funding for abortion services. The policy prohibited aid recipients from providing access to abortion, even to save a woman's life, as well as information about abortions. This move follows changes in US foreign policy from President Obama in January 2009. In May 2007, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population and Development described the restrictions as "cruel and illogical" and recommended that family planning, contraception, and sexual and reproductive health services should be integrated with HIV/AIDS programmes and that at least 10% of Australia's overseas aid budget should be devoted to sexual and reproductive health. The report was ignored by former Prime Minister Howard but the incumbent, Rudd, has reconsidered it. Australia's aid focuses mostly on Asia and the Pacific, where approximately half of unsafe abortions globally occur. Australia itself has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world. (1,2)

(1.) Vijeyarasa R. Australia lifting gag rule on foreign aid for abortion? RH Reality Check, 10 December 2008.

(2.) Australia global gag rule lifted. Feminist Daily New Wire, 10 March 2009.

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Title Annotation:ROUND UP: Law and policy
Publication:Reproductive Health Matters
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Nov 1, 2009
Words:195
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