Today’s report from the Greens-initiated Universal access to reproductive healthcare Senate inquiry confirms that despite being legal, access to abortion, contraception, sexual healthcare and maternity services remains a postcode lottery in Australia.
The consensus recommendations made by the multipartisan Committee today set out a comprehensive plan for improving access to reproductive, sexual and maternity healthcare for everyone, and the Greens look forward to working with the government to get them implemented.
Lines attributable to Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson on Women, Larissa Waters
“The message has been clear throughout this inquiry - there are currently too many barriers to abortion, contraception, sexual healthcare, and maternity services in Australia. That needs to change.
“These recommendations will have a real impact on people’s access to reproductive health, and we welcome the unanimous support for them from the committee. The Greens will push to see them implemented as soon as possible.
“People shouldn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars and travel hundreds of kilometres to get an abortion. The Committee’s recommendation to lift restrictions on medical abortion and ensure public hospitals provide surgical abortions or a referral to an affordable local service will go a long way to improving access.
“The Greens will continue to call for those pathways to be fully funded. Abortion care is basic healthcare, and that means it should be available with no out of pocket costs.”
“Contraception is crucial to giving people more control over their reproductive choices. The Committee recommendations will improve access and affordability for different types of contraceptives, including long acting reversible contraceptives.
“The Greens will continue to advocate for all contraception to be free, but we welcome these steps to address some financial barriers.
“Half the battle is figuring out where you can go to get an abortion or advice on contraception. A national hotline will provide a single touchpoint for people to find reproductive healthcare where and when they need it.
“Around Australia, closures of maternity wards in regional hospitals have left many expectant parents with no choice but to drive for hours to give birth. It’s unacceptable, and we are pleased that the Committee has called for birthing services to be available in all regional hospitals.
“Another welcome recommendation is support for midwives in birthing and a broader range of reproductive healthcare, and support for more birthing on country initiatives for First Nations people.
“This inquiry has revealed the scale of work needed to achieve universal access to abortion, contraception, sexual healthcare, and maternity services in Australia, and the Greens are committed to getting it done.”