Catholic Welfare pushes for more abortion counselling

Catholic Welfare Australia executive director, Frank Quinlan, has said more counselling services are needed to help women with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies make decisions about their future and to help women after they had abortions.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports today that women with unplanned pregnancies will be able to choose whether to seek counselling but will be referred only to trained professionals by their general practitioners under measures to be discussed by Federal Government ministers tomorrow.

Church groups already running pregnancy support services say that although their views on abortion are well known, their counselling services canvass all options.

"Anyone coming to one of our agencies is likely to understand the Catholic Church's position on abortion," Mr Quinlan (pictured) said yesterday.

"But we are very adamant that we have to be providing support and assistance to all comers."

The Minister for Health, Tony Abbott, will take a $60 million package to cabinet tomorrow, including a proposal for a 24-hour national telephone service for pregnancy counselling.

He will also ask for an extension of the Medicare rebate to cover three counselling sessions for women with unplanned pregnancies.

It is understood the counselling would be optional and women would be referred to psychologists or to general practitioners or nurses with psychology training.

Mr Abbott said yesterday he does not have a problem with church groups making expressions of interest for the service.

"I have a great deal of confidence in church groups to deliver professional health services," Mr Abbott said.

"They deliver them with a Christian ethos of love and compassion and I think any services which the Christian churches deliver are delivered with great professionalism but also with great compassion."

Abortion counselling: the choice is yours (Sydney Morning Herald 20/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Welfare Australia

RU486 decision a bitter pill (CathNews 17/2/06)
Pell says Australia changing its mind on abortion (CathNews 15/2/06)
Catholic groups decry Senate vote (CathNews 10/2/06)
Catholic and Evangelical students join Muslims in RU-486 fight (CathNews 9/2/06)
Abbott says attacks are sectarian (CathNews 9/2/06)
Bishop Fisher says RU406 won't curb abortions (CathNews 7/2/06)
Catholic GPs ready to quit over RU-486 (CathNews 3/2/06)
Life Office criticises advertiser's gag on abortion debate (CathNews 1/2/06)
Churches lead RU406 protest (CathNews 30/1/06)
Day of action to fight abortion drug move (CathNes 27/1/06)
Melbourne Archbishop says maintain abortion drug ban (CathNews 25/1/06)
Pope says 'no' to gay marriage, abortion pill (CathNews 13/1/06)
Catholic Health to address abortion pill inquiry (CathNews 15/12/06)

Catherine King's full speech on how she voted on RU486 (ABC Ballarat 19/2/06)
MPs who back RU486 aren't pro-life: cardinal (Catholic Weekly 19/2/06)
Australian pro-lifers saddened by RU-486 approval (Catholic World News 17/2/06)
John L. Allen: Australia and RU486 (National Catholic Reporter 17/2/06)
Opportunity for pro-lifers to "share the truth" (NZ Catholic)
Abortion advice a must, doctors say (The Age 20/2/06)

20 Feb 2006