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.

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.

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

The Coronavirus Is Showing Up Gaps In Australia’s Abortion Access

Fiona had just survived a brutal bushfire season and moved into a small tin shed with her two toddlers and partner while they built their family home when the coronavirus outbreak hit. “Then I found out I was pregnant,” Fiona — a pseudonym to protect her privacy — told BuzzFeed News. “That was a surprise.” The last thing the 26-year-old Adelaide Hills mother needed was an unplanned pregnancy in the only Australian state where you can’t legally access medical abortion drugs over the phone. T

South Australia Is Waiting On One Man To Decide If Women Have To Travel For Medical Abortions In A Pandemic

In every Australian jurisdiction bar one, women can access medical abortions over telehealth. In South Australia, the law dictates a woman must physically see two different doctors at an approved hospital to get medical abortion pills. Only a handful of hospitals in the state provide the pills, meaning the vast majority of rural and regional women have to travel to the capital Adelaide.

A Supplier Refused To Fill A Face Mask Order For An Australian Abortion Provider Because They're For "Health Professionals"

Australia's largest abortion provider says its supply of face masks and hand sanitiser for carrying out surgical abortions will only last two more weeks after a number of orders from private personal protective equipment (PPE) providers were cancelled or refused in the coronavirus pandemic. In one instance, a private company cancelled an order from Marie Stopes Australia (MSA) on the basis it was reserving supplies for "health professionals". The Australian government has also refused to suppl

Another Liberal Staffer Shared A Meme About The Coronavirus Saving Lives If It Takes Out Planned Parenthood

The journalists at BuzzFeed News are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today . An advisor to New South Wales police minister David Elliott who shared an anti-abortion meme on Facebook trivialising deaths from the new coronavirus has kept his job, while a second Liberal staffer who shared the same meme last week resigned.

Abortion Providers Will Be Treated As Essential Health Workers During This Pandemic

Multiple state health departments have confirmed that abortion doctors will be exempt from travel restrictions if travelling interstate to carry out surgical abortions, as the procedure is essential, not elective. BuzzFeed News this week revealed up to 80 women on surgical abortion lists around Australia could be left in limbo as doctors fought to be exempt from new coronavirus travel restrictions requiring self-isolation.

Dozens Of Women Are Waiting For Surgical Abortions As Coronavirus Travel Restrictions Delay Doctors

Up to 80 women on surgical abortion lists around Australia could be left in limbo as doctors fight to be exempt from the new coronavirus travel restrictions to provide vital sexual and reproductive healthcare. Australia's largest abortion provider Marie Stopes Australia (MSA) is desperately seeking clarity from various state health departments as to whether eight of its surgeons who need to travel interstate in the next fortnight to provide abortions will be exempt from travel restrictions.

Women In Cambodia Are Using Facebook Messenger To Access Abortions And Sexual Health Advice

J, who lives in Cambodia’s southern province of Takeo, wasn’t sure who to turn to for advice on her unplanned pregnancy. She couldn’t afford to have another child, and knew she wanted an abortion. “I felt afraid to discuss it with my family but I told my sister,” she told BuzzFeed News through an interpreter. “My husband supported my decision because our baby is one year and five months old, so we spend a lot of money already.”

These Signs Show Doctors Can Already Refuse To See Women Wanting The Pill Or An Abortion In Australia

The Australian government is pushing ahead with its proposed religious discrimination laws, and doctors and lawyers are concerned the legislation could allow practitioners to deny or delay medical care when it comes to reproductive health. But as signs in GP's offices provided to BuzzFeed News show, doctors are already refusing reproductive healthcare under the current guidelines, before a patient has even walked into an appointment. Laura — who asked to use a pseudonym to protect her privacy

Doctors Say Abortion Bill Amendments Require Them To “Interrogate” Women, And Read Their Minds

It is one of the most supported pieces of legislation ever to be introduced into the state’s parliament — yet anti-abortion politicians are proposing amendment after amendment to the bill that would remove abortion from the New South Wales Crimes Act. The bill, co-sponsored by 15 MPs from across the political spectrum, attracted more than a dozen proposed amendments in the lower house — where it passed in early August — and is likely to face many more in the upper house. BuzzFeed News spoke to

Women Are Finding Abortion Flyers In The Mail And Don't Know Who To Complain To

Anonymously authored anti-abortion flyers that compare women who have had abortions to Nazis are turning up in letterboxes around Sydney, ahead of a vote on a bill that would decriminalise abortion in New South Wales. The flyers ask "When is it OK to kill an innocent human being?" and make the misleading claim that the proposed new law would legalise the killing of an unborn child "up to birth, for any reason". Darlinghurst woman Michelle Dennis found out about the pamphlets before she’d even ar

This Woman Advertised Her Illegal Abortion In A 1970s Newspaper. She's Been Fighting For Change Ever Since

Wendy McCarthy was one of 80 women who put their names and the fact that they'd illegally terminated pregnancies in a full page advertisement in a national newspaper in the early 1970s. “We wanted to provoke the cops because we thought if it is illegal and they’re getting poor women for this, then why don’t they come for us?” the 78-year-old businesswoman, chairwoman and onetime adviser to former prime minister Malcolm Fraser told BuzzFeed News.

Abortion Picketers Trying To Overturn Safe-Access Zones May Take The Fight To The United Nations

"Domestic legal remedies have been exhausted," Iles told BuzzFeed News. "We would appeal to the United Nations human rights tribunal. Their decision is not binding but it is an avenue we're exploring." Closer to home, some lawyers are worried the lobby's push to expand religious freedoms in Australia could see a similar case to Clubb's prosecuted against safe-access zones on slightly different grounds. In a June newsletter to its members, the ACL asked for donations to "protect religious freedom

“It Makes Us Sound Like We’re Monsters”: What A Second-Trimester Abortion Actually Involves

Emily — a pseudonym to protect her privacy — and her husband were “thrilled” when she fell pregnant soon after trying for their second child. “We were looking forward to her arrival,” the now 33-year-old told BuzzFeed News. “I refer to her as a little girl and she has a name, but I understand she wasn’t technically a person.” Her name was Maya. When Emily went for a 12-week scan she was told her foetus was developing a “strange shaped head” and could possibly have a defect in the neural tub

These "Pro-Choice" Women Have Complicated Feelings About Their Abortions

“Any sign of weakness is co-opted by a narrative that I don’t want to contribute to because I’m not grieving for the child I could have had,” she says. “Reducing it to a decision that you have to be 100% comfortable with really erases the experience of people who — for whatever reason — need to terminate a pregnancy but who would, in other circumstances, have kept it. It doesn’t leave room for people who have conflicted emotions about it.”
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