Even though abortion services and advice are legal in Australia, a new study has found that access is extremely limited.
The study’s findings were published in the Australian Journal of Primary Health and showed that GPs in public hospitals don’t currently have adequate information to refer women to abortion services.
The review from January-June 2022 extracted abortion service referral data from the 17 of 34 HealthPathways portals that consented to be included across all states and territories except Tasmania and South Australia.
Almost half (47 per cent) had no public services listed for surgical abortion, and 35 per cent had no public services for medical abortion.
Most (63 per cent for surgical abortion, 66 per cent for medical abortion) emphasised that public services should be a last resort, directing referrers away from their abortion services and towards private providers.
As a result of the study’s findings, Dr Srinivasa said: “There is an urgent need for transparency around public abortion service availability, clear guidelines to support referral pathways, and commitment from State and Federal governments to expand the availability of accessible, no-cost abortion in Australia.”