The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is disappointed that Queensland is poised to approve a free telehealth abortion service.
The state government is reported to be planning to fund the service that would make it easier to access abortion pills in remote and regional areas.
The Sunday-Mail recently revealed that women across the state were being turned away from hospitals and faced travelling hundreds or sometimes thousands of kilometres to have a termination. Some had to seek financial assistance.
The telehealth concept is supported by peak medical bodies, but not the ACL.
Acting Managing Director Wendy Francis told Vision Radio it seems that legislation to support the service is being fast-tracked through state parliament.
“They are trying to rush it through. They do have the numbers, but they’re trying to do this with as little fanfare as possible because what they are doing is a very dangerous move for women in rural areas, particularly in Queensland where we have a lot of communities that are mainly indigenous,” she said
“I would say from the outset that abortion by telehealth is not health care. This is legalising do-it-yourself at-home abortions. We used to talk about how terrible at-home abortions were. We are legalising at-home abortions, putting women at risk by using a controversial drug with no in-person medical consultation. So we’re making abortion more prevalent and more dangerous for women. A reasonable percentage of women who take this drug need to have ongoing care because it doesn’t actually do what it’s supposed to. We are completely disregarding the health of our women,” Ms. Francis asserted.
.A Queensland Health spokesperson told the Courier Mail the government wanted to ensure women could access safe and high-quality termination of pregnancy services no matter where they lived.
“Ongoing work is under way to understand the barriers .. and provide potential solutions, including the feasibility of a collaborative telehealth model,” he said.
A spokesperson for Health Minister Yvette D’Ath told the Courier Mail the Palaszczuk Government had been consulting with stakeholders since late last year on both a Queensland Women’s Health Strategy and an associated plan on measures to improve termination services in Queensland.
“These are expected to be finalised in the coming months,” she said.