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The Albanese Government won’t force state hospitals to perform surgical abortions, formally ruling out a policy it took to the 2019 election. Source: The Age.

The Government is facing a fresh push from health groups and left-leaning Labor women to make abortions more accessible.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is ramping up its calls for universal access to abortions in both public hospitals and through doctors, who they say should be able to supply the medical abortion pill to women following a fully funded consultation.

A renewed focus on reproductive healthcare has come after a Senate inquiry into the issue recommended in a May report that public hospitals either offer surgical abortions or steer patients to affordable providers, and that the abortion pill be easier to prescribe.

However, Health Minister Mark Butler has categorically ruled out revisiting Labor’s 2019 policy of making public hospital systems provide abortion services to qualify for federal funding, ahead of a push from left-leaning Labor women’s ranks to put the issue back on the agenda at the party’s national conference next month.

“That was a policy at an election some time ago. It’s not our policy now. It’s not the policy we took to the last election,” Mr Butler said.

Labor had previously distanced itself from the idea, which some thought hurt its election prospects in faith communities, and went into the 2022 election with a softer promise of “equitable access”.

Mr Butler said that was still the Government’s position.

The progressive Labor women’s group Emily’s List is pushing for fully funded abortions, the Government to cover travel costs of regional women, and wants nurses and midwives to be able to prescribe the medical abortion pill.


Labor won’t make public hospitals perform abortions, despite fresh push for access (By Natassia Chrysanthos, The Age)