CONTROVERSIAL senator John Madigan has defended his decision to introduce a bill that will cut public funding of abortions used to select the sex of a child.
The much maligned private member's bill due to be put before the senate on March 19 has been labelled a time-waster and a veiled attempt to create more restrictive legislation around abortion in Australia.
Senator Madigan has been criticised for failing to provide any scientific evidence or empirical data that abortion based on sex was actually happening, saying only "it's happening overseas, so it's happening here."
"We don't keep abortion data in Australia," Senator Madigan told the Advertiser yesterday.
"But I've had three obstetricians come to me in the past week, shocked this (practice) was going on, and I'm not going to stand by while kids get bumped off just because of their sex."
The bill has riled women's health groups, who dispute the practice is happening and have said any evidence put forward by Senator Madigan has been anecdotal.
"In all my time working in women's health, I've never heard of this (a termination based purely on sex) happening," manager of Wagga Women's Health Centre Gail Meyer said.
"It may happen overseas in places where the status of women is much lower than Australia but I certainly don't think that equates to it happening here.
"I'd like to see the senator offer the public a bit more evidence, something substantial."
Ms Meyer said while women had abortions for various reasons she certainly didn't believe the choice was made in such a frivolous way.
Wagga-based national president of the Democratic Labor Party Paul Funnell said he agreed with the bill and denied it was aimed at raising the party's profile.
"I can't provide hard evidence," he said.
"But we aren't doing this in any judgemental way.
"We have the greatest compassion and empathy for people."