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.

Australian Doctors Can Already Turn Away Women Seeking Contraception Or An Abortion. What Will The Religious Discrimination Bill Do?

Doctors in Australia can already object on religious grounds to providing contraception and abortion. In fact, several doctors have signs in their offices outlining that they will not see patients about contraception, abortion, sterilisation or in-vitro fertilisation. Religious hospitals, too, can turn away patients with these needs. But that hasn’t stopped the government moving forward with its religious discrimination bill.

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.

This Catholic Schoolgirl Is Leading A March For Reproductive Rights

Sydney teenager Bella Ziade created a Facebook event to march for reproductive rights two weeks ago when her timeline was "blowing up" with news that conservative lawmakers across the United States were purging abortion services from their states. "These restrictions in Alabama and the eradication of choice, even in cases of incest and rape, made me scared because [Australia is] so impacted by everything American," the 17-year-old told BuzzFeed News.

Women Are Crossing The Border To Take Two Pills In A State With Better Abortion Access

“We have had a significant number of women getting to our service after their NSW GP has told them abortion is illegal,” Orr said. “I am in Victoria and our abortion law reform makes it very clear to me that if a woman comes in with an unplanned pregnancy and she wants an abortion, that is almost all I need to know, but in NSW, because it is technically in the Crimes Act and there have been doctors charged, I think doctors think ‘I take on enough risks and I don’t want to take that on’.”

Kerryn Phelps Says The Liberal and Labor Parties Need To Speak Up About Abortion

"I would urge the major parties to consider a policy on reproductive rights, including a national approach to the safe and legal termination of pregnancy, in the lead up to the next election," Phelps told BuzzFeed News. "I will be encouraging a national approach and in the absence of a national approach, I'll be encouraging the states to decriminalise abortion in line with other states and territories, including most recently Queensland."

A Woman Was Turned Away From A Hospital After A Failed Medical Abortion

A woman in regional NSW has been turned away from her closest hospital and forced to drive six hours to another hospital for a minor operation after a failed medical abortion. Sophie — a pseudonym to protect her privacy — found out she was pregnant in January and called telehealth service The Tabbot Foundation, which delivers medical abortion drugs RU486 in states where it is legal to take the pills outside a registered medical facility.

This Video Shows An Anti-Abortion Picketer Offering A Woman Help With Immigration If She "Keeps The Baby"

"I learnt that one of the things they do is specifically target people of colour and migrant patients who are trying to access the clinic," the 24-year-old Chinese-Australian told BuzzFeed News. "[The patients] are told that if they keep their baby, they get free legal services and immigration help and, in some cases, free visas." So she decided to see if it was true.

This Church-Funded Cafe Is Raising Money For The Anti-Abortion Clinic Next Door

Online reviews of Esencia cafe in the NSW border town of Albury praise the "top notch" hot chocolate and "divine cheesecakes" , sold to raise funds "for a good cause". But it isn't clear whether the customers know they are topping up a fund to buy a $30,000 ultrasound machine for the Women's Life Centre - an organisation owned by the Catholic Parish of Holy Spirit Lavington - to scan women with unplanned pregnancies.

This Woman Didn't Know Abortion Was A Crime When She Had One. Now She's Fighting To Decriminalise It

A woman and her doctor can be convicted for an unlawful abortion in NSW, but case law has established that abortion is lawful in the state if the doctor has an honest opinion that continuing the pregnancy would be seriously harmful to the health of the woman. "It wasn't too hard for me to see a doctor and have a conversation, but it angered me when I found out it was illegal and that I could have technically been prosecuted, especially the first one as an 18-year-old."

We Went To The "Day Of The Unborn Child" Anti-Abortion Rights Rally

"It is about saving babies' lives, because every life matters and even science says that," Prtenjaca told BuzzFeed News. He attended the rally with an embroidered image of St Patrick – "the Arnold Schwarzenegger of patron saints" – on a pole. Global anti-abortion organisation Family Life International describes the Day of the Unborn Child as one for Christians to "remember the millions of unborn children whose lives have been ended by the violence of abortion".

This Is What It Is Like To Be Harassed Outside An Abortion Clinic

Albury woman Enisa Bennett fell pregnant to her fiance in 2014. Three months earlier she had been raped by a friend, the 29-year-old told BuzzFeed News. "When I fell pregnant I was still dealing with the trauma of the rape, struggling to get out of bed and attempting not to kill myself every day," she said. "I knew I couldn't look after myself let alone someone else." The couple decided to terminate the pregnancy.
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