DEVELOPMENT AID: by Tim Cannon (reviewer)News Weekly
Australia funding abortions in Mongolia
, April 2, 2011
Easy access to sex-selective abortions has led to a massive gender imbalance in large parts of China and India, and will lead to a 10 to 20 per cent excess of young men in those countries in the next 20 years, according to a study published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The study’s authors reveal that in China an estimated 1.1 million excess males were born in 2005 alone, with the total number of males under the age of 20 years exceeding the number of females by around 32 million. Similar disparities can be found in India.
The study, led by Professor Therese Hesketh from the Centre for International Health and Development at University College London (UCL), links the rapidly growing gender imbalance to the development of ultrasound technology which has made sex-selective abortion possible.
The authors point out that gender imbalances of such dramatic proportions carry inevitable social consequences. Marriage retains a place of fundamental importance in Indian and Chinese culture and society, but the gender imbalance means that tens of millions of men are simply unable to marry for want of a bride. The study shows that in China today 94 per cent of unmarried people aged 28 to 49 are male.
The study reflects growing concern over the emerging gender imbalance in many developing nations. In 2009, the OECD Development Centre established its Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) team to track gender equality across a range of sub-indicia in developing nations.
One of the six sub-indicia measured by the SIGI team is the “Son Preference sub-index”, which “reflects the economic valuation of women” in a given country, by measuring “gender bias in mortality due to sex-selective abortions or insufficient care given to baby girls”.
Both the SIGI team’s Son Preference sub-index and the UCL study present the stark consequences of abortion en masse in the developing world.
It is deeply and disturbingly ironic that, while advocates of abortion insist that the provision of abortion services in developing nations is a means of empowering women, abortion is in fact systematically eliminating millions of baby girls for no other reason than that they are female. Call that empowerment?
Of course, we must not forget that Australian taxpayers now play their part in advancing the cause of abortion in developing nations too.
Two years ago, the then Rudd Labor Government Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, changed the Family Planning Guidelines for Australia’s overseas development assistance program to allow Australian aid dollars to fund abortions in developing nations.
The 2009 announcement coincided with International Women’s Day, and followed a call from the Australian branch of major international abortion-provider, Marie Stopes International, for the Australian Government to assist in giving the women of developing nations the opportunity to “live and thrive as strong, healthy women” — by funding abortion in those countries.
According to recently published answers to questions on notice from Queensland National Party Senator Ron Boswell to the Senate Estimates Hearings in October last year, Australian taxpayer dollars are indeed being used to fund abortions overseas, by none other than Marie Stopes International Australia.
In a media release dated October 16, 2010, Senator Boswell said, “The Australian taxpayer is funding abortions in Mongolia and the question is, ‘why?’”
“Department answers to my questions show that from July  Marie Stopes International received $63,426 from AusAID for abortion-related services in Mongolia while International Planned Parenthood Federation received $9m core funding for its work which includes abortion services in numerous countries.”
Senator Boswell said that Australians were generous to those in need and supported foreign aid, but would question the government’s priorities in giving money to controversial action such as abortions when there were still so many dying of hunger and thirst.
The decision to fund abortion in developing nations must also be questioned in light of the growing concern over gender imbalances in developing nations.
Contrary to the claims of abortion providers such as Marie Stopes International Australia — that abortion gives the women of developing nations a voice — the practice of abortion in developing nations has the effect of silencing women in the most systematic and ruthless way: by eliminating them in the womb.
It is noteworthy that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s recent answer to Senator Boswell’s question noted that “In 2010-11, AusAID is supporting Marie Stopes International Australia to build the capacity of its local organisation — Marie Stopes International Mongolia — to deliver quality sexual and reproductive health services”.
That Marie Stopes International should be setting up shop in Mongolia does not bode well for future generations of women in that nation. Already, the OECD Development Centre lists Mongolia as having a significant Son Preference sub-index score, indicating a tendency in that country to abort healthy females in preference for male children.
One suspects that the provision of taxpayer-funded assistance from one of the world’s most prolific abortion-providers is unlikely to improve the survival rate of unborn girls in Mongolia.
Tim Cannon is a spokesman for the Australian Family Association.