Access to a medical abortion to be expanded in Canberra

A person seeking a medical abortion will be able to seek treatment with a local general practitioner or telehealth provider as of 1 July this year.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Meegan Fitzharris says the commencement of the Health (Improving Abortion Access) Amendment Act 2018 will now give people more choice for abortion services in the ACT.

“Expanding this service to provide more choice and safe options for a person who chooses to have an abortion is fundamentally important,” Minister Fitzharris said.

“It also means a person will be able to choose where they take the prescribed medication, making the process more personal and sensitive to individual circumstances.

“This change will also help to remove some of the barriers the ACT community faces when they are looking to access an abortion service.

“The ACT is historically a leader in abortion law reform by making abortion a health, not a criminal, matter and introducing exclusion zones around medical facilities providing abortion services to protect people from being harassed or targeted when attending such facilities.

“Up until now, abortions could only be provided at an approved medical facility, such as Marie Stopes, or the Canberra Hospital.

“While people can still self-refer to Marie Stopes at any time, knowing they can go to a local GP or use a telehealth service within nine weeks will give a person peace of mind that a two-step medication can be arranged with a timely appointment close to home.,” Minister Fitzharris said.

As noted by Jamal Hakim, Managing Director at Marie Stopes, Australia:

“Marie Stopes Australia congratulates the ACT Government on their commitment and proper planning, in the area of Abortion law.

“Abortion legislation is something that needs to be able to evolve to meet the needs of the community. Over the past year we have seen leadership from the ACT Government and supportive members of the Legislative Assembly in evolving the legislation in the ACT to allow the wider use of Medical Abortion.

“What we are now seeing is legislation that will increase access and choice to abortion options for the ACT community.

“Marie Stopes Australia is proud to support this legislative change, and the increased access it provides through local General Practice. Marie Stopes Australia will be supporting this change alongside the ACT Government by providing continued education and training to support GPs and clients seeking abortion services in the ACT,” Jamal Hakim said.

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