Health Insurance Amendment (Medicare Funding for Certain Types of Abortion) Bill 2013
Friday 22 March 2013 @ 9.31 a.m. | Legal Research
A new Bill has been introduced to the Federal Parliament, seeking to remove Medicare funding for abortions procured on the basis of gender. The Bill was put forward to the Senate on 19 March 2013 by controversial senator John Madigan.
The Bill inserts a single section into the Health Insurance Act 1973, stating that a Medicare benefit will not be payable for a termination "carried out solely because of the gender of the foetus." The explanatory statement expands upon this, adding that the Bill is not intended to cover situations in which termination is sought due to a gender-specific disorder in the foetus.
The practice of sex-selective abortion has been condemned by international and human rights groups, with the explanatory statement noting that "In 2011 the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued an interagency statement entitled Preventing gender-biased sex selection." It goes on to conclude that the practice of gender selection is "discriminatory and greatly prejudicial" towards the female child and women in society as a whole.
However, critics have labelled the Bill an attempt to revive the abortion debate in Australia, and have queried the extent to which sex-selective abortion is practiced in Australia.
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