Bring Back Abortion Clinics in Tasmania
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Yesterday, I was horrified when I read an article stating that Tasmania’s last public surgical abortion clinic had closed. Women need local access to these services. A lack of services does not only entail financial disadvantages, but also emotional consequences for the women who now have no choice but to travel interstate for the procedure. There are some women who are affected by this issue at this very moment.
There is a private gynaecologist situated in Hobart who will provide surgical abortions for $2500 - for many women this is not financially viable in the slightest and a public surgical abortion ranges from $400 - $1200. At it’s maximum, that is a $1300 difference. Many women would struggle to pay an extra $1300 let alone the costs of travelling interstate. From what I have gathered from the numerous articles regarding the closure, there is the possibility of financial compensation for women. This may seem like a good alternative to some, although I do have some concerns:
- Will the financial compensation cover one-hundred percent of the costs (such as flights, accommodation, the surgical procedure, food, transport, etc.) or will it only cover a certain percentage or attributes (such as flights or accommodation)?
- Will the compensation be available to all women or women who earn under a certain amount?
- Will the compensation be paid to women after or before the procedure?
Does the compensation include the recovery time?
As I previously mentioned, there are emotional consequences at stake as well. Women previously had the 'luxury' of being able to bring a close family member, friend or partner for emotional support when the surgical clinic was opened. Due to the prospect of interstate travel, family, friends and/or partners may not be able to afford the cost to travel interstate. Does that mean that the financial compensation will cover the costs for a family member, friend or partner to also travel interstate in order to support women undertaking the procedure?
Furthermore, there are other concerns that I have regarding the emotional consequences of this issue:
- Will women have to go through the government in order to get financial aid for the abortion instead of their GP?
- What if flights or accommodation are unavaliable due to a popular event, or there is an issue with the booking - whether it be the flight or accommodation services - or if their flight is delayed?
- If someone has a phobia of flying, would the Spirit of Tasmania be a viable option?
- Will flights be available from regional airports in order to minimise their journey as they are travelling interstate?
- Will women have to organise the interstate journey for the procedure?
- Abortion Clinics in other states may be less likely to provide Tasmanian women with the right sources - such as counselling - from another state.
These concerns would cause great emotional stress on women who are considering or wish to have a surgical abortion.
I love Tasmania, it is such an amazing and beautiful place and I am lucky enough to be able to call it my home. However, I am ashamed that women now have no choice but to travel interstate in order to receive a surgical abortion. Women need local access to these services. They should not be forced to have to subject themselves to financial and emotional stress because of the ignorance of their State. Interstate travel is not the correct solution. Please show not only the Tasmanian Government but the rest of Australia the importance and fundamental access to local health services.
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