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HomeThe pressure is on for the Albanese Government to fund abortion and contraception services: MJA article

HomeThe pressure is on for the Albanese Government to fund abortion and contraception services: MJA article

The pressure is on for the Albanese Government to fund abortion and contraception services: MJA article

9 Feb, 2024 | Advocacy, Equity and access, Media

As the US becomes a battleground on abortion rights, MSI Australia is calling on the
Albanese Government to fund nationwide abortion and contraception services in a new article published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

While Australia has seen more abortion law changes in the past six years than in the previous 60,
funding remains patchy and haphazard.

MSI Australia Director of Clinical Excellence Dr Catriona Melville said there has been a rapid shift in
abortion and contraception policy, creating the opportunity to expand abortion and contraception
access.

“Almost two years ago the Ministers for Women in every state and territory met in person to discuss
how they can work together on abortion access,” she said.

“A bipartisan Senate Inquiry into the Universal Access to Reproductive Healthcare produced an
achievable roadmap but we’re yet to hear which steps the Government will take first.

“In recent years we have seen reforms in every state and territory in Australia with moves to
decriminalise access to abortion, enable more telehealth options, and introduce safe access zones
around clinics.

“Access to abortion and contraception enables us to choose if and when we are pregnant, increasing
women’s participation in education, workforce, community and political life.

“Every day we hear from women who want access to abortion or contraception, but who can’t afford
the out-of-pocket costs.”

“We should not be expecting people to pay out of pocket costs for contraception and abortion care
throughout a financial crisis.”

MSI Australia Head of Policy and Research Bonney Corbin said the global context, marked by
setbacks like the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States, raises concerns about the future of
reproductive rights.

“The current global reproductive rights backlash is not simply against abortion, it is against gender
equity and human rights,” she said.

“Australia’s federated model, like the US, presents a fertile political ground for obscure opinions on
reproductive rights.

“Australian antichoice opinions are wound within the governance of our social services, legal systems
and health and hospital services.

“The lack of abortion access in Australia is indicative of the absence of women, particularly women
of colour, disabled women and LGBTIQ people in our health and hospital leadership.

“Australian health and hospital services are riddled with conscientious objectors who refuse to offer
tangible advice and referral for people seeking long-acting contraception or abortion.

“Anti-choice sentiment is also a procurement issue, where we see abortion providers’ being restricted
access to medical products, including personal protective equipment.

“We’ve had more legislative reforms on abortion in the past six years than the past sixty, it’s now
time to see those reforms impact on abortion access for people across regional, rural and remote
areas.

“The Medicare Benefits Schedule and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme are both overdue for
review, in particular for surgical abortion care and supported access to the copper IUD.

“In 2020, the Tasmanian Government trailblazed with the Women’s Health Fund and the Youth
Health Fund, supporting those who want but cannot afford abortion and contraception care.

“In 2023, the Australian Capital Territory announced universal access to abortion and long-acting
reversible contraception, which includes access for people on temporary visas.

“Governments in Western Australia and Queensland have long supported abortion access with
funding available in specific health regions, and are now looking at how they can address gaps in
access.

“Families and people are under immense financial pressure with the rising cost of living and the least
we can do is support families to be able to plan for pregnancy and parenting.

“The pressure is on federal budgets to provide interim funds while jurisdictions lagging behind find
longer term solutions to reproductive health access in Australia.”

Donate to the Choice Fund to support people experiencing financial hardship or other barriers to abortion and contraception care here.

– Ends –

For further information contact Anna Jabour on 0428 396 391.

MSI Australia is the only 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 msiaustralia.org.au