CHILDREN BY CHOICE: The non-for-profit organisation provides support services to pregnant people in regional areas and is offering training to Bundaberg GPs.
CHILDREN BY CHOICE: The non-for-profit organisation provides support services to pregnant people in regional areas and is offering training to Bundaberg GPs.

Breaking down pro-choice stigma for pregnant people

WOMEN'S reproductive and sexual health choices are their own to make, which is why one not-for-profit organisation is working to deliver more support services in regional communities for unplanned pregnancies.

Brisbane based organisation Children By Choice offers a range of statewide services to assist women and pregnant people with unplanned pregnancy, through information, education, counselling and support.

CEO for the organisation Daile Kelleher believes all pregnant women have the right to receive non-judgemental, unbiased and evidence based information to ultimately make a choice they feel comfortable with.

"We provide pregnant people with information about all options in relation to unplanned pregnancy to assist in their decision making, which includes abortion, adoption and parenting," Ms Kelleher said.

"Our counsellors offer decision making and post abortion counselling to women and pregnant people from across the state via phone, email and video call.

"We can also provide clients with financial assistance to access abortion or contraception services and can link clients in with local support services."

In a bid to meet the demand in regional areas, the CEO is raising awareness about the options and support available and is passionate about ensuring all services can be accessed in communities such as Bundaberg.

"We support many people in the Bundaberg region with our counselling service and often receive calls from a lot of regional and rural areas, which shows us that there is a need for more support in those communities," Ms Kelleher said.

"Children by Choice has recently launched an abortion doula program which aims to connect clients with a trained doula who can support them through the process if they require.

"Many people who live in regional areas may not have support readily available but would like someone there to attend their abortion appointment with them or wait outside."

Children By Choice is also planning to offer training sessions for medical practitioners in October, that may be interested in providing medical abortion services locally.

"We are looking to link in with potential providers such as local GPs who may be able to offer services in the Bundaberg area, so patients don't have to travel so far," Ms Kelleher said.

"It involves getting a group of GPs in the area together for training, discussion and networking, to make health professionals feel like they are not alone and they have a support network."

The organisation, which is client-focused and pro-choice, aims to break down stigma surrounding services like abortion, which was once and in some communities, is still considered a taboo topic.

"It's definitely getting better but there is still some barriers around unplanned pregnancy and abortion," Ms Kelleher said.

"But the conversations we are trying to have is that this is a basic, safe and normal healthcare service and lots of people know someone or will meet someone that has gone through this experience before.

"In fact, the reality is one in four Australian women will have an abortion in their lifetime."

Bundaberg residents who would like further information and require support, can phone 1800 177 725 on weekdays, between 9.30am and 4.30pm, or visit the website at childrenbychoice.org.au

For more information about GP education sessions, email ed@childrenbychoice.org.au



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