Abbott's faith a problem for Democrats

The Democrats is concerned that Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott's Catholic faith is getting in the way of his decision making after claims he threatened drug companies against marketing abortion pill RU486.

The Age reports that Democrats leader Lyn Allison, a co-sponsor of the push to remove the veto power over the drug from the minister, yesterday said she would not be surprised if the claims about Mr Abbott's interference were true.

"The industry has been saying to me for some time there is no interest in introducing RU486 in this country because they understand the threat which is implied from the minister," she said today.

"I think it's time he was removed from the health portfolio," Senator Allison said. "I think another portfolio which doesn't present so many conflicts of interest would be appropriate."

Mr Abbott has denied the claims.

The ABC reported on Wednesday night the minister saying in a statement that he doubted any reputable drug company would seek marketing approval for RU486.

"He denies holding discussions with any pharmaceutical company representative about RU486 and says that his staff also deny warning off any companies," the ABC said.

In February, parliament overwhelmingly voted to lift a 10-year ban on RU486 by stripping Tony Abbott of his power over the pill.

Abbott's faith a problem for Democrats (The Age/Australian Associated Press 1/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Tony Abbott
Democrats | Minister Abbott should resign over allegations | Govt defends funding for anti-choice counselling

Abbott says attacks are sectaian (CathNews 9/2/06)
Abbott defends churchgoing politicians (CathNews 5/9/05)
Abbott denies he's 'programmed' by bishops (CathNews 11/8/05)
Abbott "at ease" with faith in politics (CathNews 20/7/05)
Abbott says "humane thinking" motivates his anti-abortion stance (CathNews 30/5/05)
Jesuit defends Abbott impartiality (CathNews 4/3/05)
Abbott backs new anti-abortion lobby (CathNews 1/2/05)
Liberals say Abbott will pay for commitment to faith before politics (CathNews 8/11/04)

Democrats say Abbott must go (Sydney Morning Herald/Australian Associated Press 1/6/06)

2 Jun 2006