ACT to get increased access to abortion

ACT to get increased access to abortion

Sep 19, 2018

GPs in the ACT can now prescribe drugs for medical abortion, bringing the nation's capital in line with other jurisdictions.

The ACT Legislative Assembly passed laws on Wednesday to no longer require an approved facility, such as the Canberra Hospital and Marie Stopes clinic, to terminate pregnancies.


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Australia – Lucky we Victorian women already had this sorted … right?

Lucky we Victorian women already had this sorted ... right?

By Miki Perkins
10 June 2018

What a fierce lot these Irish women are. It was stirring to see them stride through airports, suitcases in tow, flocking home to vote.

And what a relief to see their country shrug off the weight of history and vote decisively for women’s reproductive rights.

Whew, lucky we Victorian women already had this sorted, right?


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Australia: Medical abortion access restricted by cost, distance and knowledge

Medical abortion access restricted by cost, distance and knowledge

January 23 2017
by Georgina Connery

Only 35 per cent of Australian women eligible for medical abortion are choosing the procedure over surgery, a new study has found.

Up-front costs, a lack of knowledge and needing to return for a check-up a fortnight afterward were factors University of Sydney and Monash University scientists believe hamper women's choices when it comes to terminations.

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Source, Sydney Morning Herald:

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Stigma and Silence: Welcome to Abortion in Rural Australia

by Katherine Gillespie
Sep 12 2016, Broadly

Women in far-flung Australian towns bear the brunt of outdated abortion laws, often traveling overnight to escape local conservatism and reach abortion clinics. Could telemedicine be the answer?

With a total of 3,062 residents, Tennant Creek is the fifth largest town in Australia's Northern Territory. The closest urban center is Alice Springs, which is six hours away. For a Tennant Creek resident in need of an abortion clinic, that's a long and lonely drive.

Rural Australians make up a third of this country's population, and many have difficulty accessing the services city-dwellers take for granted. That includes abortions, which one in three Australian women will seek in their lifetime. All of which means a huge number of rural Australian women must travel vast distances to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

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Source: Broadly

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Health Canada should be removing and not adding barriers to an abortion drug treatment that could help so many women.

Jocelyn DownieAbortion pill: One step forward, two steps back

by Jocelyn Downie

 The good news is that Health Canada has approved Mifegymiso for sale in Canada.  Mifegymiso is a combination of drugs that, taken together, cause what’s called a medical abortion.  Medical abortion can be preferable to surgical abortion for a host of reasons, not least that it can make abortion accessible to women in communities with limited access to surgical abortions (most acutely, in rural and remote communities).

The bad news is that the approval of Mifegymiso (often referred to as RU486) came with strings.  As part of the approval process, Health Canada made the manufacturer agree to a set of “post-authorization commitments.”  A number of these commitments are entirely inappropriate.

Only registered physicians who have completed the mandatory Mifegymiso education and registration programs can prescribe Mifegymiso.  Also, only physicians can dispense Mifegymiso, and the woman must take the first of two sets of pills in the presence of the dispensing physician.  These restrictions are indefensible, for a variety of reasons.

First, there is no convincing empirical evidence to justify the claim that they are required for safety.

Second, it is stigmatizing to place these restrictions on an abortion drug when they are not placed on any other drugs.  No other drug has this set of restrictions.  Not even opioids, at a time when there is a recognized epidemic of addiction and deaths from opioids in Canada.  The only drug that has anything close to the Mifegymiso restrictions is methadone — a potent narcotic used for pain relief and for the relief of withdrawal symptoms for patients addicted to heroin or other narcotic drugs. And even that has fewer restrictions than Mifegymiso.

Third, these restrictions will create barriers to access, because many physicians will be unwilling or unable to meet them.  In particular, family physicians in private practices or community clinics may not have the experience or infrastructure required to buy, stock, dispense and take payment for drugs.  Furthermore, because of safety and conflict-of-interest concerns, physicians are frequently discouraged and often even prohibited by the provincial regulatory bodies from dispensing drugs.

It is discriminatory to create such barriers to access to a medically necessary treatment that only women require.  The Supreme Court of Canada long ago stated that discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is discrimination on the basis of sex.  Access to abortion in Canada is already a serious problem for many women —Health Canada should be removing not adding barriers to access.

Fourth, requiring women to take the pills in front of their physician interferes in the physician-patient relationship. It sends a stigmatizing message that women are not to be trusted to take the pills and to do so responsibly and properly on their own.  It also puts the timing of the abortion at the mercy of the physician’s schedule.  A woman will have to initiate the abortion when she can get an appointment with her physician, instead of when it is most convenient for her.  So, for example, she might only be able to get an appointment on a Tuesday so she would then have to go through the abortion during her workweek.  If this restriction were not in place, she could have it over a weekend and thus not compromise her income and her privacy.

Perhaps of greatest concern is the fact that this requirement means that a woman who had to travel a great distance to access the physician might have to go through at least part of the abortion while travelling back to her home.  Nobody should be made to go through the physical and psychological effects and side effects of these drugs while, for example, driving some hours from the doctor’s office to home.

Health Canada should immediately take the steps necessary to expedite removal of these conditions on the prescription, dispensing, and administration of Mifegymiso. To do otherwise is to continue to stigmatize and discriminate against women in the exercise of their reproductive autonomy.  And we’ve surely had enough of that already.

Source: Policy Options Politiques


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