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  • Writer's pictureHannah Phillips

An inquiry into Access to Women’s Reproductive Healthcare has ignored pro - life submissions

An inquiry into Universal Access to Women’s Reproductive Healthcare has held its final hearing, focusing on barriers to abortion and contraception.

According to AAP migrant women and international students are facing poorer reproductive health outcomes as advocates push for better access to care for all who need it.

The inquiry has received criticism from pro – life advocates for not publishing submissions. According to an Instagram post from Dr Joanna Howe, she took aim at the inquiry for “excluding pro – life voices from the debate.”

According to Dr Howe a Professor of Law, “over 1500 pro – life Australians took the time to write individual submissions to this inquiry.”

Currently 245 submissions have been uploaded to the submissions section of the website.

According to AAP, the inquiry heard from women, experts, advocates and healthcare professionals who said despite abortion being legal, accessibility was often based on where people lived.

Concerns have been raised in submissions about regional access to healthcare, volunteer ambulance services and midwifery services.

The committee heard only seven per cent of general practitioners across Australia were registered to provide medical abortions, a figure which decreased significantly in regional areas.

"Despite being a progressive and quite fair country there are many barriers to affordable, appropriate and effective contraception and abortion in Australia," Sue Matthews, the CEO of the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, said.
"Much of it is by design, it's not by choice,” she said.

According to Dr Howe, “the vast majority of [the submissions are] from pro – abortion groups or groups and individuals identifying as pro – choice.”

“This is not how democracy is meant to work,” Dr Howe said.
“We demand a fair and transparent Senate inquiry into reproductive health,” she said.

The inquiry is set to hand down its findings in the second week of May.


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