17 Feb Open Letter in Support of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2020
To all members of the South Australian House of Assembly,
As organisations and services working for the wellbeing of South Australians, we express our concern about the harm being caused by keeping abortion in the criminal law, and register our strong support for the current Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2020.
Each patient knows what makes sense for their health, their body and their future. They should be able to feel safe and in control of their healthcare, and be free to decide whether and when to have a child.
South Australia’s current abortion laws are no longer fit for purpose. They delay and complicate patient care, increase patient distress, and disproportionately harm members of the community who already face barriers to accessing healthcare.
A patient who needs to end their pregnancy shouldn’t have to travel hundreds of kilometres from home, or cross state borders, to access the healthcare they need. And healthcare professionals should be able to provide their patients with the best care possible – without fear of criminal charges.
We express our strong support for the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2020 in its current form. The Bill promotes the autonomy, dignity and wellbeing of patients who need to end a pregnancy – by providing a pathway to a more compassionate reproductive healthcare system for South Australians.
In particular, we note the profoundly personal and complex circumstances in which patients need abortion care later in pregnancy. Given this, we strongly support the approach outlined in the Bill, which enables patients and medical professionals to jointly make decisions about their healthcare needs after 22 weeks and 6 days in pregnancy. We consider the proposed Bill provides an approach that is both medically appropriate and compassionate for the patients facing these distressing circumstances.
We also support the provisions to ensure a health practitioner’s personal beliefs don’t interfere with their patient’s access to timely abortion care.
We urge you to support the Bill, and to oppose any amendments. We are aware of proposed amendments that would create barriers to many patients accessing timely, appropriate and compassionate healthcare; particularly in regional and remote areas. Such amendments go against the expert advice of the South Australian Law Reform Institute, and major medical bodies. All South Australians should be able to access the healthcare they need; when they need it; and where they need it.
We call on you to be on the right side of history, and vote yes for the Bill – for safe, legal and compassionate access to abortion care in South Australia.
Amnesty International Australia
Australian Education Union (SA Branch)
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch)
Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA)
Australian Women’s Health Network
Democracy in Colour
Embolden SA (Coalition of Women’s Domestic Violence Services SA)
EMILY’s List Australia
End Rape on Campus
Australia Fair Agenda Family Planning Alliance
Australia Human Rights Law Centre
Marie Stopes Australia
National Alliance of Abortion and Pregnancy Options Counsellors (NAAPOC)
National Foundation for Australian Women
MS Health Public Health Association of Australia
Rationalist Society of Australia
RANZCOG (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists)
Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia
Reproductive Choice Australia
South Australian Council of Social Service
South Australian Abortion Action Coalition
South Australian Council for Civil Liberties
SPHERE – NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women in Primary Care
The National Council of Single Mothers & their Children Inc
The Women Lawyers Association of South Australia (Inc)
WESNET (The Women’s Services Network)
Working Women’s Centre SA Inc