Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has joined Liberal women MPs to denounce their colleague Cory Bernardi for claiming supporters of abortion rights are "pro-death".
Senator Bernardi has sparked a furious reaction after he claimed in his new book, The Conservative Revolution, that abortion was an "abhorrent form of birth control" and said the 80,000 to 100,000 terminations performed each year by the "death industry" were "horrendous and unacceptable".
The backbencher likened babies conceived by IVF or surrogacy to commodities, and said having children raised by traditional families was preferable to stepfamilies, gay couples and single parents.
He claimed boys raised by single parents had higher rates of criminality and girls were more promiscuous. Senator Bernardi defended his views yesterday, saying the debate about abortion should be reopened.
"I haven't said we should outlaw or prohibit abortion," he told the ABC. "I have said there is a right-to-life issue we should be exploring." Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has pledged not to change abortion laws despite his own pro-life views, said Senator Bernardi's views were not those of the Government.
A spokeswoman for Ms Bishop said: "These are Mr Bernardi's views. They do not represent the views of the minister."
Victorian Liberal MP Sharman Stone said the senator was out of touch with women's lives.
"No woman chooses an abortion over contraception," Dr Stone told _The West Australian _. "Is he really suggesting he wants the bad old days of coathangers and backyard haemorrhages because that would be a very cruel and an ungodly thing to suggest."
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, himself a stepfather, branded Senator Bernardi offensive.
He has frequently criticised the Islamic faith and was forced to quit as Mr Abbott's parliamentary secretary in 2012 after comparing gay marriage to bestiality.