Health service to aid Bundy women seeking abortions
BUNDABERG women will still have to travel at least three hours by car to seek pregnancy termination options at one of two private clinics offering abortion services, even after legislative changes this week.
However, a Queensland Health spokesman said that although these services will remain in the private sector, they will explore avenues to increase accessibility.
"We know there are access barriers to termination services in Queensland, particularly for women in rural and remote locations,” the spokesman said.
"We will continue to explore how Hospital and Health Services can work with local providers and partner organisations to address this issue where services are limited.”
Queensland women can now request an abortion at up to 22 weeks gestation after a change in legislation was approved on Wednesday night.
The controversial Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 was debated in Queensland Parliament over two days with the final vote resulting in the bill being passed into law 50-41.
Marie Stopes Australia's Rockhampton clinic is one of the two closest clinics which offers the procedure to Bundaberg women and CEO Michelle Thompson said the modernisation of these laws would assist in lessening the stigma attached to abortion.
"We have seen women in our Rockhampton and Townsville clinics who have had so much trouble finding out information about termination options from doctors,” Ms Thompson said.
"This new bill will give doctors certainty and protection so they can help women seeking a termination.”
She said at least one North Queensland woman would travel to Victoria each week seeking terminations between 20 and 22 week gestation before the change in legislation.
"One woman a week may seem like an insignificant number but when you hear how these women have been treated in their home state, it is their experience that becomes significant,” she said.
The other closest clinic for Bundaberg residents is in Nambour. Member for Bundaberg David Batt and Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett both voted against the bill being passed and said about 99 per cent of locals who reached out to them didn't want to see the bill passed.
Mr Bennett said his
long-term view was that the bill was flawed and made the decision to vote no.
"In all good conscience, this bill didn't stack up for me - and I will let others judge - but I'm comfortable the way I voted,” he said.