QUESTION NUMBER 11 - SENATE FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE LEGISLATION COMMITTEE ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES HEARING FEBRUARY 2011
Senator Hanson-Young asked AusAID in writing on 13 February 2011:
The Family Planning Guidelines were revised in August 2009 to provide "the same range of family planning services for women in developing countries as are supported for women in Australia, subject to the national laws of the relevant nation concerned". This includes support for safe abortion services, up to 20 weeks gestation. Considering there are 20 million unsafe abortions every year, and 46,000 deaths from unsafe abortion, all avoidable, how is the Australian aid program helping to reduce these statistics?
The focus of Australian-funded family planning initiatives is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies through the increased availability of family planning services. The United Nations Population Fund calculates that if family planning was available to all women who wanted it, 32 per cent of all maternal deaths and nearly 10 per cent
of childhood deaths could be averted each year. The aid program is strengthening maternal health services through a range of strategies. These include improving access to skilled birth attendants, family planning and emergency obstetric and neonatal care through our bilateral health programs and increasing funding for sexual and reproductive health activities including family planning. The Australian Government has also played a significant role in advocating at global forums for increased attention to maternal health and collaborating with other donors such as the US, UK and the Gates Foundation to ensure more effective responses to women's health issues.
Relevant information is also included in answer to the previous question (Question10).