Australian health advocates call for free abortions

Disadvantaged women are being priced out, say health advocates

Women’s health advocates in Australia are calling for abortions to be made free amid fears needy women are being priced out.

They say increasing numbers of women are unable to afford fees at private abortion clinics, and that they are being turned away.

A woman’s service at Mount Druitt, Sydney, has written to the minister for health, Jillian Skinner, following an increase in the number of requests for financial aid to help with abortions.

In one week the service had three women who were turned away from the area’s Blacktown Hospital for financial reasons.

Demonstrating that a women’s reasons for seeking a termination are rarely clear cut, they pointed out that one woman already had five children aged 10 and under and had just separated from her husband because of domestic abuse.

In Australia, women can receive a Medicare rebate for abortions but the costs are still too high for many.

Denele Crozier, the executive officer of Women’s Health New South Wales says: ‘Women who are really poor are finding it hard to get bulk-billed abortion services.

‘Either public hospitals must provide an abortion service or governments must further subsidise poor women to use the free-standing clinics.’

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