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Decriminalising Abortion Fundamental to Effective Sexual and Reproductive Health

03 May 2019

RANZCOG acknowledges that equitable access to abortion and contraception are fundamental components of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH). The prevention of unintended pregnancies is most effectively achieved through increasing access to the most reliable methods of contraception —long acting reversible methods (including intrauterine devices and implants). However, use of these methods remains low in Australia and New Zealand; limited by a range of lack of public and health care professional knowledge, cost, training and reimbursement issues. On the other hand, abortion services are affected by a lack of legal uniformity and variable service provision; with little to no access in some regions, and, in many areas, limited public provision of abortion.

RANZCOG believes that abortion is an essential aspect of safe healthcare delivery and that it should be removed from the Criminal Code. Equitable access to services should be overseen and supported by health departments in each jurisdiction in the same way it is for other health services. Furthermore, it should not be limited by age, socioeconomic disadvantage, practitioner-preference or geographic isolation. Women should have the right to access abortion without their privacy being infringed or being subjected to harassment.

RANZCOG respects the personal position of all our members and recognises the right to conscientious objection to abortion provision. However, it reminds them of their duty to facilitate alternative care for their patients if they are unable to provide it themselves.

 




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