Roe v Wade decision underscores need to protect reproductive rights in Australia

Health Industry Hub | June 27, 2022 |
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The US Supreme Court on Friday stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion under Roe v. Wade. The court’s overturning of the landmark ruling is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the US states.

In the light of this ruling the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) reiterated “The College strongly supports the availability of abortion being an essential aspect of safe healthcare delivery, and stands with healthcare professionals across the world in protecting patients’ access to care.”

Adrianne Walters, Associate Legal Director with the Human Rights Law Centre, said “Abortion is healthcare. Access to abortion is a human right. No one should fear prosecution and imprisonment for needing healthcare, but sadly, millions of women around the world do. And now, millions more will in the US.

“What has happened in the US has not happened overnight. Bit-by-bit, year-by-year, anti-choice politicians and campaigners, lawyers and many others have sought to erode women’s reproductive rights.

“We have achieved important reforms in Australia in recent times. The situation in the US shows us that we must remain vigilant, as well as doing much more to ensure that every person can access abortion care regardless of their income, where they live or who they are.

“In recent years we’ve seen anti-choice politicians around Australia borrow from the US anti-abortion playbook to try to thwart important reforms in Queensland, NSW, South Australia and through the former Morrison Government’s flawed Religious Discrimination Bill.

“Most states in Australia have now reformed their laws to decriminalise abortion and ensure that abortion is treated as healthcare. South Australia’s reforms will finally commence in two weeks. However, Western Australia still lags behind. It is beyond time for the McGowan Government to act.”

Children by Choice and almost 100 Australian organisations and individuals from academia, politics and the medical profession said in a statement “We stand in solidarity with healthcare professionals who provide abortion care and every person who has accessed an abortion, or may need to in the future. We support access to legal, safe, timely, compassionate healthcare and protections for reproductive rights in conjunction with supporting bodily autonomy and reproductive justice.”

The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, feminist icon and judge of the United States Supreme Court, once commented that “the decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her wellbeing and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When government controls that decision for her, she is being treated less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”

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