The federal government is insisting a pregnant asylum seeker changed her mind about having an abortion in Australia after allegedly being raped in Nauru.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said reports to the contrary are a “fabrication”, while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the 23-year-old was returned to Nauru because she decided against the procedure.
“The information I have is that woman in question changed her mind about seeking a termination and was deemed fit to fly,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Auckland on Saturday.
Somali woman Abyan was brought to Australia and moved to Sydney’s Villawood detention centre this week for the procedure.
But she was put back on a charter flight to Nauru on Friday.
Refugee advocates say the woman was flown out of Australia because lawyers were preparing for an injunction to prevent her return to the island.
“At no point did Abyan refuse or decline to have a termination,” Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul told AAP.
Mr Rintoul said Abyan had indicated she wanted to postpone her decision because she wanted to discuss the matter with doctors, but she had been denied counselling and an interpreter.
“All she did say with that (was) she would tell them tomorrow or the day after, and on that basis it seems they’ve removed her,” Mr Rintoul said.
“It’s very clear that she was urgently removed from Australia quite deliberately and consciously to avoid there being any possible review of the decision to remove her.”
Greens leader Richard Di Natale said that, if true, it was “cruel and callous” to deny Abyan pre-termination counselling.
But Mr Dutton accused refugee advocates of lying.
“Comments from some advocates … are a fabrication, while others appear to be using this woman’s circumstance to their own political agenda,” the minister said in a statement on Saturday.
Abyan is one of two Somali asylum seekers who say they were raped on Nauru.
Nauru police closed their investigation last week into claims a 26-year-old Somali asylum seeker was sexually assaulted, after the Nauru government said there was “insufficient evidence” to back the woman’s claim.
The Nauru police said the case would be reopened if new evidence came to light.