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Public Hospitals To Provide Free Abortions Under Labor

Federal Labor's policy will also look at providing cheaper contraception to Australian women

Public hospitals will have to offer abortion services as part of Commonwealth funding agreements under a federal Labor government. If the party wins the upcoming election, Labor has also promised to build a new Tasmanian reproductive health hub so women don’t have to travel interstate for abortions and other medical care. 

Labor will also look at making sure the contraceptive pill, long-acting removable contraceptions, and medical terminations are more widely available to Australian women. The party would also work with state governments to decriminalise abortion across the country, instead of having the existing mixture of laws that vary between jurisdictions.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said every Australian woman should be able to access health services in the place and time they need them. Currently, there is an assortment of service provision, with some women turned away from public hospitals when they need to end a pregnancy and then not being able to access or afford to go to a private clinic. 

RELATED: Fresh Push To Make Abortion Legal


“Choosing to terminate a pregnancy is difficult enough”, Ms Plibersek said. “Forcing a woman to travel long distances or interstate to access surgical services can dramatically increase the emotional and financial burden. We wouldn’t accept someone having to travel that far for a hip replacement or a broken bone.”

“Women deserve better.” 

Ms Plibersek said the changes will particularly help women in country areas.

RELATED: How Much Does An Abortion Cost For Australian Women?

Tanya Plibersek
Tanya Plibersek

Small hospitals wouldn’t have to offer surgical abortions if it was beyond their capacity, but the Commonwealth would use its funding deals with states that make it clear it excepts the service to be widely provided. 

Labor would also establish an online community to support doctors providing medical terminations using RU486, and review the Medicare rebate associated with this service. A new national telephone referral service will give women access to reliable information about safe, credentialed providers of termination services.

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