Here’s How Australia’s States And Territories Stack Up When It Comes To Abortion Access

A new scorecard has broken down Australia's abortion legislation inequities.

abortion australia

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A new scorecard identifies how each state and territory stacks up when it comes to abortion access in Australia.

National abortion provider MSI Australia shared the graphic on Wednesday to analyse the current legislation in place, following the international response to the overturning of Roe v Wade in the US on Friday.

The scorecard outlines whether abortions can be provided without multiple doctors’ approval, associated criminalisation risks, the legislation of safe access zones, whether justifications or counselling referrals are needed, as well the role of conscientious objection by abortion providers.

“Roe v Wade has been devastating for women and pregnant people in the United States, with some states moving quickly to criminalise abortion in order to create even more access issues,” said MSI Australia Managing Director Jamal Hakim in a statement. “Thankfully in Australia, our abortion laws are relatively secure with no threats to wind back any legislation,” he said. “We can’t take this for granted and must continue work to embed abortion care.”

However, the scorecard also identifies gaps depending on where a person needing an abortion lives, leading to disparate regulations — what MSI call a ‘postcode lottery’.

The organisation identified resourcing as a major issue during the pandemic, with non-profit and community health providers feeling the financial pressure of providing abortion health care.

Hakin said that alongside harmonising legislation nationwide, another key priority is making abortion access universal through government support.

According to Health Direct, the cost of abortion depends on whether it is surgical or medical, the gestational period, and whether it is accessed through a public service or a private clinic. “We cannot … continue to subsidise the cost of over-regulation of what is a safe and common healthcare service,” said Hakim.

In July, South Australia will join the rest of the country in legalising ‘teleabortion’, or access to non-surgical abortion via online telehealth consultations.

Photo Credit: Manny Becerra/Unsplash