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Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he will not wind back the clock on abortion law should he become prime minister, and argues his personal evolution has been in a ''reassuring'' direction for progressives, reports the Age.
Mr Abbott rejected feminist academic Susan Mitchell's recent accusation that he would use high office to impose conservative social values on the country.
He says Australians need only look at his record to find reassurance, and becoming prime minister does not make a person ''less predictable''. Becoming prime minister normally makes politicians ''more responsible, more conscious of their obligations to the wider world and particularly to the totality of the Australian community.''
Mr Abbott has told the Age he will not turn back the clock on abortion laws. ''Look at the record in government. It didn't happen.'' And it won't happen? ''No.'' End of story? ''End of story.''
Mr Abbott indicated if the contentious issue of embryonic stem cell research - the subject of a vigorous parliamentary debate and a landmark conscience vote in 2002 - came back to Federal Parliament, it would again be a conscience vote.
Dr Mitchell has recently published an excoriating polemic about the Opposition Leader.
The book Tony Abbott: A Man's Man, argues he is afflicted by ''innate and deeply embedded sexism and misogyny'' - and would, if given the chance, impose Catholic conservative values on the country. She did not interview Mr Abbott for the project.
No U-turn on abortion: Abbott (The Age)