The law in Australia has never been simple or kind for women trying to get abortions for unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.
In fact, most people don’t realise just how difficult it is for many women in Australia to get an abortion.
Despite being pro-choice on the surface, Australian law still values the life of a fetus over the well-being of the mother. In NSW, abortion is still technically considered a crime.
But that’s all about to change with a new initiative being launched by the Tabbot Foundation that will allow women to access the medications they need to have an abortion — an over the phone abortion process. With just a simple phone call, women will be assessed and will not have to visit a doctor for anything except ultrasound and blood test consultations.
Reproductive Choice Australia says that this new service will make abortion drugs much more accessible, particularly for women who live in rural areas. These drugs are legal in Australia, and are publically subsidised. The issue is that in many area of Australian GPS are reluctant to prescribe them to women, even if they are suitable for treatment, due to the issues they believe it will cause. As always, abortion is an issue that promotes significant backlash in the community. Unfortunately, as women do not feel as though they can go to their GP, they are forced to seek out surgical abortion clinics which are both rarer and much more expensive.
At the moment, the care a women receives in Australia in terms of an abortion has more to do with where she lives than her personal situation. This will all change with the launch of the telephone service. Not only does it allow costs to be kept at a minimum, but it lessens the social stigma that many women face as they try to get an abortion.
The process is very straight forward as well. A woman will call the telephone service, and be referred to a local (bulk-billed if possible) clinic where she will receive a blood test and an ultrasound. Once the results have been received, if the pregnancy is suitable (less than 63 days along) the Tabbot Foundation will receive the abortion medication, antibiotics, painkillers and anti-nausea drugs all for only $250.
Australia still has a way to go with abortion laws that make it simple and non-discriminatory for women to seek out an abortion when they are not in a situation to become a parent. The new telephone service from the Tabbot Foundation is a positive move in the pro-choice movement in Australia, likely to be welcomed by advocates and health professionals. It bridges the gap between Australia’s outdated abortion laws, and the needs of the women using the service, and is a promising step into the future.