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Govt must boost aid to prevent maternal deaths

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says maternal and child health in the Asia-Pacific region must not be forgotten this Mother’s Day, calling on the Federal Government to confirm its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals in its impending Budget.

The global financial crisis has been predicted to hit developing countries most severely, heightening the need for wealthier countries to maintain or increase their aid funding.

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AusAID restrictions must not be subject to ministerial whim

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says that restrictions that were lifted today on AusAID funding for family planning programs must never again be able to be reinstated by the minister of the day.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith this morning announced that the Family Planning Guidelines would be revised, lifting restrictions on Australian foreign aid going to some family planning services that had been in place since a 1996 deal between former Senator Brian Harradine and Prime Minister John Howard.

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This International Women's Day must herald better maternal health in our region

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young hopes that the rights and health of
women overseas will soon be better protected as Australia celebrates
International Women's Day today.

The Greens have called on Foreign Minister Stephen Smith to use his
ministerial discretion to lift restrictions on AusAID funding for
certain family planning practices, just as the United States' similar
'global gag rule' was lifted by President Obama during his first week in
office.

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Greens to move amendment in law to ensure AusAID ban lifted

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has announced the Greens will move a legislative amendment to ensure the restrictions on AusAID funding for family planning services are lifted, if the Government does not do so by the next session of parliament.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith yesterday said that he expected to make an announcement on the restrictions in the “very near future”.

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STANDING COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE - 26/02/2009 - FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE

Senator Hanson-Young -I have some brief questions around some questions that I put on notice last time. I wonder if we have any updates. I was interested in knowing whether there was a time frame on when we were likely to see a decision from the minister about the current ban on AusAID funded services providing certain family planning services and advice.

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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.

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Greens move to overturn restrictions on aid for women’s health

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young will today move a motion in the Senate calling on the Rudd Government to abolish restrictions on Australian aid funding of family planning and maternal health overseas.

US President Barack Obama recently overturned the global gag rule that prohibited aid funding going family planning services.

“Australia is now the only country that continues to enforce these draconian restrictions on our aid programs,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

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

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Harradine's AusAid legacy must be overturned

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has called on the Rudd Government to follow the lead of President Obama and abolish the family planning guidelines that effectively ban the use of aid funding for some contraceptives and for abortion advice and services.

The AusAid guidelines are a product of former Senator Brian Harradine's conservative hold of balance of power in the Senate years ago.

"The Greens have long opposed these cruel and archaic restrictions and have been active participants in the campaign to have them removed," said Senator Hanson-Young

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