Canberra has become the first place in Australia to offer free abortions.
The new ruling, which takes affect today, makes good on a promise from the ACT government to improve reproductive healthcare in the territory.
As part of the decision, those seeking an abortion will be able to access medical or surgical abortions free of charge.
Under the offering, medical abortions can be sought up to nine weeks and can be accessed via telehealth, some GPs and at the MSI – Canberra’s key reproductive healthcare centre. A medical abortion involves using medications to induce abortion.
Surgical abortions can be sought up to 16 weeks’ gestation at the MSI.
The services will be provided to people with and without Medicare cards, which includes tourists or those in Australia who cannot access our universal healthcare scheme.
ACT Health Minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith, said the territory was “proud” to offer the service without “the stress and financial impact that has so often accompanied this really critical healthcare service.”
The move is part of an overarching plan to improve access to affordable healthcare as part of the ACT Women’s Plan 2016-26.
This story was first published on ELLE Australia.