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HomeMSI Australia calls for a national approach to increase access to abortion care

HomeMSI Australia calls for a national approach to increase access to abortion care

MSI Australia calls for a national approach to increase access to abortion care

22 Jul, 2022 | Abortion, Advocacy, Blog, Equity and access, Media

Portrait of five people with linked arms

Ahead of the Ministers for Women meeting in Adelaide today (Friday 22 July), the only national abortion, contraception and vasectomy provider MSI Australia (formerly Marie Stopes Australia) is calling for a national approach to abortion care.

Across Australia, people seeking abortions continue to face a postcode lottery.

When abortion moved into health law in states and territories, layers of regulation followed and little funding was allocated to properly fund abortion care.

In 2019, the bipartisan National Women’s Health Strategy (2020-2030) listed ‘Equitable access to pregnancy termination services’ as a ‘key measure of success’ but no action has been taken to implement the policy at any level of government.

Managing Director Jamal Hakim has said the time has come to resource collaboration across the states, territories and abortion providers to fill abortion access gaps.

“A collaborative approach to bridge abortion access gaps could end the postcode lottery women and pregnant people currently face across Australia,” he said.

“The Prime Minister is right, public hospitals do receive funding from the Commonwealth, so it is up to the states to decide how services are offered.

“States and Territories need to fund abortion properly.

“Regional health leadership and delivery is diverse, health regions are led by state and territory governments, and the national model needs to respond to that.

“State and territory health leadership is the next step to filling gaps in abortion funds.

“Quality personalised healthcare requires a diversity of healthcare providers, models of care and healthcare practices which differ by population group, regional context and community need.

“National collaboration to fill health access gaps need to be responsive to community led models of health that enable cultural safety and personalised care.

“Women and pregnant people currently self-fund unnecessary healthcare gaps in abortion care.

“At the Federal level we need MBS item number reviews on both medical and surgical abortion, but equally state and territory governments need to support funds to bridge consumer access gaps.

“At State and Territory levels we need Health Departments to work with abortion providers to identify and fill access gaps.

“The Government must not only reduce the cost to health consumers but also to provide greater financial relief for people experiencing financial hardship.

“Abortion is healthcare and it should have laws, regulations and budget allocations that support implementation.

“We’re in a pandemic and the cost of living is at breaking point. Universal abortion access is essential.”

Head of Policy Bonney Corbin said bipartisan state and territory collaboration can end the postcode lottery.

“Our Federal Government has one of the most progressive abortion policies in our region. We have a national framework for universal abortion access this decade,” she said.

“State and Territory Government health departments and health leaders should come to the table.

“This week the Ministers for Women have taken the initiative to meet on the matter – yet again women table the issue of abortion rights.

“This meeting is an opportunity to confirm that reproductive rights is part of our national agenda for gender equity.

“This meeting is an opportunity to embed reproductive rights into current policy drafts including the Gender Equity Strategy and the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and their Children.

“Ministers for Women continue to lead the conversation on gender equity and women’s safety, but abortion access is about health.

“When we moved abortion from criminal law to health law, that was the time for Ministers for Health to lead on abortion equity.

“While women should lead conversations on equity, it should no longer need to be the Ministers for Women who prompt collaboration.

“For too long, women’s safety funds have been used to subsidise abortion access.

“Abortion is healthcare. It is time for states and territories to fill health funding gaps.

“State and Territory Government health departments and health leaders should come to the table.

“Ministers for Women must activate national cross sector collaboration for abortion access, including policy reform and implementation.”

View a summary of current abortion laws across states and territories and the latest Australian Abortion Access Scorecard.

Donate to the Australian Choice Fund here.

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For further information contact Anna Jabour, MSI Australia, 0428 396 391.

MSI Australia is a national not for profit provider of sexual and reproductive health services including permanent and long-acting reversible contraception and abortion care. For more information on our clinic network visit mariestopes.org.au.