Amendments An Attack On Women And Their Health Care

FAMILY Planning NSW CEO Ann Brassil said amendments to the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 were an attack on women and their health care and would have devastating consequences for the most vulnerable in our community.

Adj. Prof Brassil said: "The bill has a clear objective to decriminalisee abortion and remove stigma, shame and equity issues.

"I am distressed that some members are attempting to impose some of the most extreme conditions in the country on the health of NSW women through a hysterical scare campaign.

"These amendments seeking to weaken requirements for conscientious objectors to refer women to other doctors and specify the specialty of the treating doctor aim to create tighter controls than those which currently exist. They will create greater disadvantage for women in rural NSW, delay access to care and they attack the professional ability of doctors and other health workers to act in women's best interest.

"Importantly, these amendments show a clear disregard for women and their capacity to make decisions about their own bodies and health care.

"Doctors and other highly trained health staff are regulated by best clinical practice and professional guidelines in how they care for patients. The proposed amendments will hinder health professionals in their day to day work with women.

"These amendments would create additional burdens for doctors and make it more difficult for women to access abortions in an already highly distressing period in their lives."

FPNSW Medical Director Dr Deborah Bateson said proposed amendments stipulating restrictive provisions like review by a medical panel after 22 weeks were degrading, unnecessary and would impact on the care doctors provided to women facing an unintended pregnancy.

"The proposed amendments act against the interests of women and ignore the professional standards, regulations and practices established in the medical community," Dr Bateson said.

"We do not see these kinds of legislative controls in any area of medicine and it is distressing to see NSW so far behind the rest of the country in its approach to abortion and women's health care."

Media enquiries: media@fpnsw.org.au M: 0402 880 653

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