Australian Greens Deputy Leader and spokesperson for women Senator Larissa Waters is calling on the Queensland and federal Health Ministers to ensure access to abortion for all Queensland women.
“I have today written to Susan Ley and Cameron Dick asking them to take urgent action to make sure women across Queensland can continue to access surgical abortion services.
“Reports that the private clinics in Townsville and Rockhampton will cease providing surgical abortion services services in February 2017 are alarming, and it’s up to the State and federal governments to step in.
“Access to sexual and reproductive health services including abortion can be expensive, are not always provided via public hospitals, and can be very difficult to access for rural women or low-income women.
“In some areas of the state, there are no providers close by meaning women have to travel hundreds and sometimes thousands of kilometres to access sexual health services.
“It is every woman's right to access essential sexual health services, yet abortion remains a crime in Queensland except in cases where the mother’s health is deemed to be critically at risk.
“Women in the rural areas of our state are at a double disadvantage having very view options open to them when seeking a safe and affordable abortion.
“We urgently need to decriminalise abortion in Queensland and increase access via public hospitals.
“The federal government should help cut out-of-pocket costs for abortions. The first step would be a review to ensure Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme rebates are adequate to cover the true cost ofterminations,” Senator Waters said.