Lawmakers React Angrily to Abortion Remarks

Meraiah Foley, AP, Feb. 13, 2006

SYDNEY, Australia—A lawmaker who said Australians were aborting themselves “out of existence,” and that the country was at risk of becoming a Muslim state angered colleagues on both sides of the political spectrum Tuesday.

Danna Vale, a lawmaker from the ruling center-right Liberal Party, told reporters Monday she worried that immigrants from Muslim countries could eventually outnumber native-born Australians if the current rate of abortions continued.

Her comments came as members of the House of Representatives prepared to debate whether to strip regulatory control of an abortion pill, mifepristone—also known as RU-486—away from Health Minister Tony Abbott and hand it to the country’s main drug regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The TGA has control over all other drugs in Australia, but a 1996 law shifted regulatory authority over RU-486 to the health minister. Last week, the Senate voted 45-28 to hand control of the drug back to the TGA, a move expected to pave the way for the drug to be cleared for use in Australia.

“A certain imam . . . actually said that Australia’s going to be a Muslim nation in 50 years time,” Vale said, explaining her opposition to the bill.

“I didn’t believe him at the time, but when you actually look at the birth rates and when you look at the fact that we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence by 100,000 abortions every year . . . that’s five million potential Australians we won’t have here (in the next 50 years),” Vale said.

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