THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
SENATOR CLAIRE MOORE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE PACIFIC
SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
FEDERAL LABOR SUPPORTS SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES TO ASSIST WOMEN IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Labor is deeply concerned at moves to restrict support for family planning advice that could cost the lives of women in developing countries.
The Trump Administration's reimposition of the so-called "Global Gag Rule" will drastically reduce the availability of voluntary family planning services, HIV programs and maternal and child health programs including fistula and midwifery services in some of the world's poorest countries.
Restrictions on women's reproductive choices, and censorship of health advice will lead to more unplanned pregnancies, worse health outcomes for women and children, and the deaths of many women as a result of unsafe abortions.
The United Nations Population Fund believes access to quality sexual and reproductive health care, including voluntary family planning, can reduce maternal deaths by one third, and child deaths by as much as one fifth.
Further poverty and reproductive health are intricately related. Supportive family planning enables the world's poorest countries to speed up economic growth and social development, and create the conditions for raising living standards and reducing poverty.
This is why Labor, when last in Government, repealed the Howard Government's prohibition on Australian international development assistance for organisations that delivered family planning services and doubled funding for family planning services to improve the health and welfare of women in the developing world.
The health of many women in developing countries will be directly, and adversely affected by this decision, and Labor calls on the Turnbull Government to lobby for the repeal of this damaging and dangerous policy and immediately rule out any move to reinstate the Howard-era restrictions on Australian aid for reproductive health services.
WEDNESDAY, 25 JANUARY 2017