religious looneys running australia

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    Just as I predicted before the coalition win. Here is the first tentative move by the storm trooper Abbott to force his own religious beliefs onto the Australian community. Maybe he's just been to see Cardinal Pell again.

    I listened to Abbott this morning on AM. It was one of the most extraordinary interviews I've ever heard. He has adopted Howard's policy of stonewalling and refusing to answer questions he doesn't like. There were long monents of silence when he was asked about his plans to introduce measures in parliament to ban abortions....

    Hope you HC folk approve, you voted for these people. Well, most of you did...

    Drop abortion politics, Latham says
    Federal Opposition Leader Mark Latham says women and doctors - not politicians - should make decisions about late-term abortions.

    Health Minister Tony Abbott and the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Christopher Pyne, have raised concerns about the rate of terminations in Australia, particularly late-term abortions.

    Mr Abbott says he believes there is an abortion epidemic and supports Mr Pyne's call for a ban on pregnancy terminations beyond 21 weeks.

    But Mr Latham says politicians should not make judgments about whether a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy.

    "It's not for politicians to get in the middle of doctors' consultation rooms," Mr Latham said.

    "I don't think it's an area where politicians know exactly every circumstance and you can mandate the approach that he's suggesting.

    "What you need to do is recognise that people get themselves into a situation where women have got to make a choice, doctors have got to provide the medical advice and we should be respecting that."

    Change possible

    Mr Abbott says he cannot rule out a change to the Government's position on funding abortions through Medicare in the next three years, though there are no current plans for change.

    He says he does not like abortion "full stop" and has expressed concern that 75,000 abortions are funded through Medicare every year.

    "Even the most determined pro-choice advocates these days seem to be rightly concerned," he said.

    Mr Pyne has ruled himself out of moving any change to the law on late-term abortions.

    He says it would be inappropriate for him as a Parliamentary Secretary to propose a private member's Bill but he would like to see the law which allows for terminations up until 24 weeks changed.

    "Maybe most late-term abortions are held for medical reasons and that is a good thing in terms of being done for the health of the mother perhaps," he said.

    "The law allows late-term abortions up to 24 weeks and that is what should be changed."


    But doctor Stephania Siedlecki, who helped introduce legal abortion services in New South Wales, says Mr Abbott's campaign against abortion will not stop the practice.

    Dr Siedlecki says the concerns are misguided and denies the number of abortions in Australia has spiralled.

    She says if Medicare funding for abortions was to be limited, it would only cause more harm.

    "Until the abortion law in South Australia was changed and these other states adopted various changes to their common law, abortion was the commonest cause of maternal death," Dr Siedlecki said.

    "We don't want to go back to the stage where women, because they can't afford to go to a good abortionist, will be trying to do abortions on their own."

    The head of Catholic Health Australia, Francis Sullivan says federal, state and territory health ministers should establish an inquiry into abortion.

    "Some politicians are too nervous to raise these issues in the public debate or don't even see it as part of their role, the community is lulled into a sense of ignorance," he said.

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