The world is turning away from Diet Coke. But you will pry it from my cold dead hands | Gina Rushton

Our fizzy friend, our spicy milk, our chemical comfort. Our afternoon amulet, the silver bauble we reach for on deadline, the Grey Lady who revives us when we have no pep left. In the first week of January, Americans acknowledged the anniversary of a dark day for democracy on which they saw the consequences of the erosion of faith in once-trusted institutions. And in Australia, we marked a year since McDonald’s unceremoniously removed Diet Coke from its menus. People are noticing that franchis

Mothers, of course, have abortions. And it’s time to accept they are the experts in their own lives | Gina Rushton

There are mothers and then there are women who have abortions. It might be the most powerful and pervasive myth anti-abortion lobbyists, politicians and their disciples have ever authored. When every termination becomes a decision to reject motherhood, moralising becomes simple. Mothers procreate – the virtuous archetype Virgin Mary didn’t even fornicate to do so – while women who have abortions have sex for pleasure, selfishly devouring the forbidden as Eve did.

The one-man newspaper fighting for regional journalism

Most days, Peter Holmes can be found scouring the streets of Orange to fill the pages of the smallest newspaper in Australia. “I spend a lot of time driving around town getting yarns,” he says from the city of 42,000 in the Central West of New South Wales. “I look for developments, things closing and opening, scaffolding, vandalism, road works -- there’s always something if you keep a keen enough eye out.”

When Is The Right Time To Freeze Your Eggs?

A woman sent an innocuous tweet from the frustration and isolation of the pandemic lockdown. “As a 35-year-old single woman who would like to have a family one day, these months dictate whether or not that can happen for me,” the July 2021 post lamented to the online world. The fury came fast. People accused her of wasting 34 years before the pandemic. They told her to “stop whining” and freeze her eggs.

Lockdown loaves and hampers

Rosanna Barbero passes a woman weighing raisins, then skirts around a pallet of Vegemite jars to enter a cavernous hall where a chain of volunteers is pushing hampers along tables – adding flour, vegetables and sanitiser wipes. The head of Addison Road Community Organisation, in Marrickville in Sydney’s inner-west, sits down, perhaps for the first time that day. “We are going to have a huge party when we close all of this down, because we will have humane policies in place and people won’t nee

Women who require late-term abortions are being demonised in Australia – again | Gina Rushton

It wouldn’t be a debate about abortion without a flagrant misinformation campaign about terminations after the first trimester. A bill to decriminalise abortion was this month introduced in South Australia, the last jurisdiction to do so, and opponents of the legislation have already set about claiming if passed it would legalise and in fact encourage “abortion up to birth”, an offensive but ultimately meaningless phrase.

Abortion drugs remain inaccessible, unsafe and unaffordable for many Australian women | Gina Rushton

It has been 24 years since the federal government chose the partial privatisation of Telstra over the rights of Australian women to safely terminate a pregnancy with abortion drugs. In 1996, anti-abortion independent Brian Harradine, who held the balance of power in the Senate, agreed to support John Howard’s one-third float of the telecommunications company if the government amended legislation to give the health minister veto to prohibit the import, manufacture or use of abortion drug RU486.

Lockdown pregnancies creating a 'shadow pandemic' of complications

Reproductive health and abortion providers say they are preparing for a 'shadow pandemic' following a wave of unintended pregnancies during the world's lockdowns. A heavily pregnant 19-year-old with high blood pressure lost her baby and went partially blind after she was turned away from a Port Moresby hospital in April, as the hospital had no temperature-testing facilities to confirm she was not carrying COVID-19.

The government has improved abortion access during the pandemic. Doctors are fighting to keep it that way

To help women safely access abortion services via telehealth, the government would need only to keep doing what services say it has been for decades: nothing. In March the government introduced temporary Medicare rebates for telehealth appointments in an effort to minimise face-to-face appointments for maladies that could be managed with an over-the-phone consultation during the pandemic.

NSW victims of crime now have a new obstacle to collecting compensation

Thanks to cost-cutting, victims of crime will essentially take on the work of public servants. This month the NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman passed landmark reforms to child sexual assault proceedings. He declared the changes could never take away a survivor’s pain, but they would help “deliver justice for survivors across NSW”. But on Friday, the government announced a controversial change to the state’s Victims Services scheme.

Victoria’s spike in Covid-19 cases

A cluster at a Brimbank meatworks, a teacher at an Albanvale primary school, outbreaks at two Melbourne hotels where travellers were quarantined, a Coburg family, staff at a McDonald’s and an H&M, a toddler at a Prahran childcare centre, a Coles worker at a Laverton distribution centre, an Essendon AFL player who returned a positive and then a negative test. Then, on Wednesday, the first death from coronavirus in Australia in a month.

Mesh-injured women win in the courts and Senate yet still wait for compensation

Women injured in vaginal mesh procedures have won a class action against Johnson & Johnson, but as the case drags on to an appeal, they are still waiting for compensation. When more than 1300 women with pelvic mesh devices won a seven-year legal battle against Johnson & Johnson in November, the judgement was so lengthy that one Federal Court staffer remarked they’d “need a forklift” to carry the printed version.

The fight for reproductive rights isn’t over in Australia until there’s equity in access

Abortion may be disappearing from criminal codes across Australia, but a lack of access to providers means the fight is far from over. You can see how long these battles have taken in the faces of the women who were on the front line. A few days before abortion was decriminalised in Queensland in October 2018, Beryl Holmes stood, supported by a cane, on the steps outside state parliament house for a rally in support of the bill. She had been fighting for this for almost 50 years. In the 1970s
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