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ALP blocks Greens’ women’s health aid funding move

The Greens say they will bring the critical issue of AusAid funding for overseas women’s health services back to the Senate for debate, despite obstructionist moves by the Government today.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young went to move a motion in the Senate, but was denied formality by the Government, meaning that it could not even be put to a vote. No explanation was given.

“The Labor Party are clearly embarrassed about their complicity in the Bush-Howard policy of restricting funding to important women’s health services overseas,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“These restrictions are literally costing the lives of young girls, women and mothers in developing countries, who are unable to access support, advice and services through AusAid-funded programs because of this gag rule.

“These policies are backward and dangerous, and must be overturned.

“US President Obama was able to do this in his first week in the job. Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith has had over 12 months to do the same, and has failed.

“Today’s blocking behaviour by the Rudd Government leaves Australia as the only nation to restrict access to family planning services in developing countries, because of a narrow-minded ideology.

“ALP voters will be disappointed that the Rudd Government, which they elected for change and compassion, is still carrying the mantle of the Bush-Howard obstruction to essential healthcare services.

“34,000 mothers die in our region alone per year because of a lack of maternal health support.

“The Greens will not let up the pressure on these necessary changes to AusAid funding guidelines, and will be bringing the issue back to the Senate again for proper debate.”

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