Monday, December 31, 2007

Women's Issues: How Australia is partly responsible for maternal death rates in East Timor

The Sydney Morning Herald has an article describing how aid restrictions imposed by Australia's previous government, is contributing towards the death of women in East Timor.

The article is written by Emily Maguire, who describes how East Timor has a maternal death rate 20 times that of Australia.

Quote: "These are horrifying statistics. The fact that Australia is partly responsible for them should shame and anger us all.

The AusAID family planning guidelines, instituted in 1996 by a Coalition government desperate for the support of the ultra-conservative Senator Brian Harradine, forbade any organisation that accepts Australian aid dollars from providing, recommending or even supplying information on abortion - even when to do so may save the woman's life.

Funded organisations are also restricted as to the types and methods of contraceptives they can suggest. Harradine retired in 2005 and had not held the balance of power for some years before that - but the AusAid restrictions remain."

Full article: Aid restrictions are killing the women of East Timor by Emily Maguire