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The Greens will set up a Senate inquiry into abortion and access to contraception in Australia

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The Greens intend to launch a new Senate inquiry to find out how easy or difficult it is for people to access abortion and contraception services in Australia, particularly those living in regional and remote areas.

The party said it had the numbers to carry out the inquiry, which will go to a vote on Wednesday afternoon.

If successful, the inquiry is likely to be asked to report in early 2023.

Greens women’s spokeswoman Larissa Waters said the idea for the inquiry came after Roe v Wade was overturned in the US.

“Of course the legal system is different, but it was an access issue … and it gave us reason to think about the ability of Australian women to access reproductive health, and that’s not a good thing,” she said.

“Especially in regional and rural areas, it costs a fortune and often you have to travel hundreds of kilometers to get basic medical care.”

Senator Waters said out-of-pocket reimbursement for women was one change the federal government could make.

“As possible [the government] to help coordinate and make sure that states are essentially harmonizing so that no matter where you live, you get the same quality of health care,” she said.

“Some of the leverage that the federal government can use is to ensure that public hospitals provide medical abortions and surgical abortions. They may say that there are potential funding levers, if you don’t provide basic health care, you’re not going to get federal services. dollars”.

Senator Waters said the inquiry, launched on International Safe Abortion Day, would also look more broadly at ways to increase access to other reproductive health options, such as contraception.

Larissa Waters says the investigation will hopefully highlight areas where the federal government can increase access to abortion.(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Four out of 10 pregnancies were unplanned, the report found

The investigation took place on the same day when the report on the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy was published and submitted to the parliament.

The report, commissioned by the global medical company Organon, which produces a range of contraceptives, showed that 40 percent of pregnancies were unplanned.

Of the women who had an unwanted pregnancy, 31 percent ended the pregnancy.

Professor Danielle Mazza, from the Center for Advanced Research in Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health in Primary Care, said there were a number of challenges surrounding access to abortion in regional Australia.

These include the time-dependent nature of the right to medical abortion, which involves taking prescription drugs, and the lack of trained general practitioners.

“It’s still a fact that many rural and regional areas of Australia don’t have GPs to provide this service,” she said.

Professor Matza said she would welcome any process that sheds light on access issues and offers real policy solutions.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-28/greens-senate-inquiry-abortion-contraceptives-access-australia/101481910

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