THE Australian Greens today announced a $15 million plan to improve the accessibility and affordability of abortion nationally.
Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and spokesperson for women, said 80 per cent of Australians supported a woman’s right to choose.
“Abortion should be legal, accessible and affordable. Access to abortion is part of every woman’s right to make decisions about her own body.
“Currently, there are problems with affordability and accessibility across the country, especially in regional areas, while in Queensland and New South Wales abortion is still considered a crime in some circumstances.
“In Queensland, just 1 per cent of terminations are carried out in the public system so many women face hundreds or even thousands of dollars in costs in the private system.
“There are only three private abortion clinics north of the Sunshine Coast, leaving women in some rural Queensland areas to travel over 1000 kilometres or up to 8 hours.
“Women subjected to domestic violence and financially controlling behaviour can face horrific difficulties in exercising their reproductive rights.
“Our plan establishes a Task Force on Abortion and Contraception to clear roadblocks to states providing abortion via their public hospital systems.
“To eliminate out-of-pocket costs, our plan will review rebates under Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme to ensure they are adequate to cover the true costs,” Senator Waters said.
Greens Candidate for Ryan and GP, Dr Sandra Bayley said no contraception was 100 per cent effective and up to one in three Australian women will have an abortion at some stage in their lifetime.
“Abortion is a difficult decision. As well as improving the accessibility and affordability of abortion, our plan would review public funding of contraception to improve accessibility.
“Deciding whether to have an abortion should not be made more difficult by misleading information from vested interests.
“Some anti-choice organisations do not identify their stance against women’s reproductive rights when offering women counselling and provide discredited, false information.
“The Greens will introduce national legislation to ensure counselling services are upfront about whether they support a woman’s right to choose,” Dr Bayley said.
The Greens plan will:
- Support decriminalisation of abortion under State laws
- Increase access via public hospitals by establishing a Task Force on Abortion and Contraception to clear the roadblocks to public provision.
- Cut out-of-pocket costs for abortions by conducting and implementing a review of rebates.
- Get accurate data on terminations provided in Australia to meet demand
- Introduce “truth in advertising” laws for pregnancy counselling