Induced Abortion - A National and International Tragedy

Babette Francis

I commend the Hon Fred Nile for his pro-life Bills, for demanding the implementation of the NSW Crimes Act which prohibits abortion and the cancellation of Medicare funding for abortion. My recommendation is that Rev Nile also demand that Australia cease funding abortion in our overseas "aid".

Senator Ron Boswell highlighted that Australia taxpayers are funding abortions in overseas countries when the money could instead be used for medical aid, food, water and housing. "The Labor government changed the rules by applying new Australian Aid Program Family Planning Guiding Principles that facilitate the funding of overseas abortions.

“Department answers to my questions show that from July [2010] Marie Stopes International received $63,426 from Aus-AID for abortion-related services in Mongolia, while International Planned Parenthood Foundation received $9m core funding for its work which includes abortion services in numerous countries.”

The ostensible excuse for abortion funding is to reduce maternal mortality, which is the UN's Millenium Development Goal No 5. Dr Rebecca G Oas PhD writes that dramatic improvements in maternal health worldwide have been achieved without the liberalization of laws restricting abortion and cites the frustration of pro-abortion groups seeking to exploit a diminishing crisis. She refers to two articles in the November issue of the UK-based Reproductive Health Matters from Latin America and South East Asia:

The first examines the use of the “health exception” as a mechanism for women to obtain abortions in Latin American countries, many of which have protective abortion laws.

The Colombian pro-abortion group La Mesa quotes an epidemiologist, who stressed: “In absolutely no way should one wait until harm has occurred. The health exception should be considered when there is a risk to the welfare of the woman, whether it be physical, mental, or social.” An Argentinean obstetrician added: “It is enough that the pregnancy is unwanted for there to be a risk.”

Thus advocates for decriminalizing abortion in Latin America have turned an argument on behalf of maternal health into a framework for unrestricted abortion on demand.

Meanwhile, a report from Sri Lanka laments the fact that registration of the abortion-inducing drug misoprostol with the national drug regulatory authority has been indefinitely postponed. While South Asian countries Nepal and India liberalized their abortion laws in part by invoking the maternal mortality argument, the author states that “These reasons are unlikely to be a campaign-turner in Sri Lanka, where impressive achievements in maternal health have been attributed to the provision of free health care, well-developed health infrastructure, free education and other social welfare measures.”

Misoprostol was added to the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines as a treatment for postpartum haemorrhaging in cases where the preferred drug oxytocin was unavailable. However, health policymakers in Sri Lanka cite the widespread availability of oxytocin in their country as a reason for the lack of urgency in registering misoprostol. The author of the Sri Lankan report concedes, “Self-medication with misoprostol for inducing abortion is less than ideal”

As both reports demonstrate, the tactic of pushing legal abortion access as a way to protect women’s lives is becoming implausible. (Rebecca Opas earned her doctorate from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in genetics and molecular biology, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Emory).

Meanwhile Byron C Calhoun MD FACOG FACS MBA, Professor and Vice-Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, West Virginia University, Charleston, USA, writes:

"The real issue regarding maternal mortality in Africa and other developing countries rests in the lack of trained and skilled birth attendants with access to emergency or higher levels of care. Reproductive rights (translated abortions) is NOT safe, actually has HIGHER rates of maternal mortality [v risks of childbirth] when compared by appropriate gestational age controls, is associated with INCREASED risk for breast cancer (in first pregnancies ending in elective abortion), is associated with INCREASED risk for preterm birth by 30-60%, is associated to INCREASED risk for death by all causes, and is associated with significantly INCREASED risk for psychological damage (including suicide and major depression)."

Brent Rooney, Canadian researcher on induced abortion, cites the alarming increase in breast cancer incidence in China for women under age 50, URL:

For most of the 20th century, women in Asia had a very low risk of breast cancer compared to women in North American and Europe. 'Reproductive factors' explain most of this difference: Asian women tended to have first births at young ages, did long-term breast feeding (2 years for just 1 infant was common), and very often had at least 2 or 3 children. Chinese researchers cannot readily explain the alarming rise in China's breast cancer rate over the last 20 years. “By 2021, 2.5 million women aged 35-49 in 2001 are expected to have breast cancer. China is 'on the cusp of a breast cancer epidemic'; URL:

Babette Francis is the National and Overseas Co-ordinator of Endeavour Forum Inc, an NGO having special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN. Endeavour Forum organises workshops at the UN in New York informing women of the adverse health consequences of abortion.