Widespread availability of contraception and abortion a public health success story
Australia really is the “lucky country” when it comes to the availability of contraception and abortion, says Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).
‘Health for all’ is the theme of this year’s World Health Day (7 April) on which the World Health Organization (WHO) will observe its 75th anniversary.
SPA national president Ms Jenny Goldie says Australia stands in marked contrast to the United States where the Roe v. Wade ruling, which made access to an abortion a federal right in the US, was overturned in June last year.
“The overturning of Roe v Wade paved the way for individual states to curtail or even ban outright abortion rights,” says Ms Goldie. “At least 14 states have done so, while in several others, the bans are being contested in courts.
“On the other hand, in Australia, the widespread and affordable availability of contraception and abortion is a public health success story. It has prevented countless women dying from unwanted pregnancies, allowed women to control their reproduction and have careers, and freed men from being wage slaves for an unwanted large family.
“Quality of life has been vastly improved since such reproductive services have become available in all Australian states. Various contraceptives and abortion covered by Medicare is a real win too for Australians.
“It’s not enough, however, for Australians to have access to contraception and abortion. We must extend the privilege to people in those countries where it is legal. We must dedicate more funds to family planning in our foreign aid budget.”
Ms Goldie says that, although reproductive services are widespread in Australia, there are still some places in regional and rural parts of the country where contraception and abortion are not readily available. Women have to travel considerable distances to acquire these services.
“Women must have control over their own bodies and they can only do so if they are able to choose whether to get pregnant or not.
“According to healthdirect.gov.au, about half of all pregnancies in Australia are not planned despite contraception being available to almost all adults. While most women who have an unplanned pregnancy want the baby, in at least one in four cases, the baby is not wanted.
“All babies must be wanted. This is a fundamental principle. Widespread access to affordable contraception will reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies. When abortion is needed, however, it should be, in the words of President Bill Clinton: ‘safe, legal and rare’.”