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Greens motion calling for Turnbull Government action on abortion passes Senate

Media Release
Janet Rice 7 Feb 2018

The Senate has today passed a Greens motion calling on the government to ensure safe, surgical abortions are available in public hospitals across the country.


“I’m glad this motion passed. It’s 2018. Women should have access to reproductive health services including surgical abortions in our public health system, no matter which state they live in, no matter whether they live in a city, or rural or regional area,” said Senator Janet Rice, Greens spokesperson for women.


The motion was introduced by Senator Rice, and co-sponsored by Senator Anne Urquhart and Senator Carol Brown, after the Tasmanian Liberal government ruled out providing surgical abortions in Tasmania’s public hospitals after the primary provider closed its doors.


The motion called on the federal government to step in when states or territories fail to guarantee reproductive health services.


“I now urge the Prime Minister to exercise leadership and ensure that people in Tasmania and across the country can access safe abortions in our public hospitals, no matter where they live.”


“It’s just unacceptable that a woman in Tasmania has to travel to Melbourne or a woman in Cairns has to travel to Brisbane, at great expense and personal cost, for the health services they require,” concluded Senator Rice.



Motion -


Senator Rice                                                                                  7 February 2018


Amendment to General Business Notice of Motion No. 688


As listed on page 12 of today’s Notice Paper in the name of Senator Rice


To move—That the Senate—

    1. notes that:
      1. access to affordable sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion and contraception, is part of every woman’s right to control her own body,
      2. recently, the primary provider of surgical abortions in Tasmania closed their clinic, and the Tasmanian Liberal Government ruled out providing this essential service within the Tasmanian public health with women forced to travel interstate for treatment,
      3. in January, Prime Minister Turnbull refused to comment on whether Tasmanian public hospitals should provide this essential health service, instead leaving the matter for the Tasmanian Liberal Government, and
      4. across Australia, inconsistent laws and service provision means access to abortion can be extremely difficult, and women face high out-of-pocket costs; in particular, women in remote, rural and regional areas are often forced to travel long distances to urban clinics; and
    2. calls on the Government to:
      1. show leadership and work with states and territories to remove all barriers to Australians accessing abortion services, including decriminalisation of abortion in New South Wales and Queensland, and provision of surgical abortion services in public hospitals across the country, and
      2. where state and territory health systems fail to provide abortion services, step in to ensure funding and provision of essential reproductive health services for all Australians.
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