Abortion inequities highlighted at the Inquiry hearing into abortion and reproductive choice in the ACT

anna.jabour@mariestopes.org.au Abortion, Advocacy, Blog, Counselling, Equity and access, Media, Reproductive coercion, Safe access

MSI Australia appeared at the first and only public hearing into abortion and reproductive choice in the ACT today.  

Since the inquiry opened, the ACT Government has announced that they will be the first jurisdiction to provide free abortion access to all women and pregnant people, including those on temporary visas. 

Managing Director Jamal Hakim addressed the inquiry, and spoke about embedding abortion care in health systems.  

“MSI Australia has operated in Australia for 21 years and in Canberra since 2014," he said. 

“It is critical for abortion care to be embedded in health systems. Additionally, long acting reversible contraception is an essential part of access to sexual and reproductive health and ensuring everyone is able to exercise bodily autonomy and make the choices that are right for them. 

“Our three recommendations include providing universal access to sexual and reproductive health, developing a sexual and reproductive health strategy and taking action to prevent reproductive violence.  

“I want to acknowledge the ACT government’s commitment to fund sexual and reproductive healthcare and their commitment to upgrading clinic infrastructure and extending our scope of care beyond 16 weeks. 

“The ultimate goal is to end the abortion postcode lottery and ensure safe, free and unfettered access to sexual and reproductive health services.” 

MSI Canberra Clinic Nurse Unit Manager Melissa Ryan addressed the inquiry said affordability was a significant barrier to access for clients.  

“I am a proud Canberran, I have grown up in Canberra and I’m raising my family here," she said.  

“My role is to oversee the day-to-day operations of the clinic, managing a team of doctors, nurses and admin staff to provide high quality care to the Canberra community.  

“As well as being a hands-on clinical role, as nurse unit manager I also manage the staffing, financial planning, and education and training for the clinic. 

“Over my time leading this facility, I have been exposed to the areas of reproductive health that are lacking in the ACT.  

“Affordability remains a significant barrier to access for many clients, particularly those without Medicare.  

“And this is not just related to the in-clinic costs but also in-direct costs like parking, time off work, travel, and in some cases, accommodation.  

“Physical access is also a challenge, clients who may have a disability or diverse body type cannot always be facilitated at our clinic due to the current infrastructure available.  

“To us, greater accessibility means being able to provide care to all of the ACT’s diverse population and promote bodily autonomy and reproductive choices for the community.” 

View the Inquiry details here and our submission here.  

Donate to the Choice Fund to support people experiencing financial hardship or other barriers to healthcare here. 

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For further information contact Anna Jabour on 0428 396 391.

MSI Australia is a national not for profit provider of sexual and reproductive health services including permanent and long-acting reversible contraception and abortion care. For more information on our clinic network visit msiaustralia.org.au.