Tasmanian women on low incomes are suffering financially and emotionally by having to travel interstate for abortions, a leading women’s advocate says.
The CEO of the Women’s Legal Service Tasmania, Susan Fahey, said it was costing women between $1500 and $2000 to travel to Melbourne for an abortion.
“They can get financial help but that is not covering the whole cost,” Ms Fahey said.
“Generally you can’t just have the procedure and go back to your hotel room for just one night.
“Women on low incomes are suffering particularly.”
Ms Fahey said she was also fearful that some women who were no longer able to have an abortion at a Tasmanian public hospital would consider proceeding with an unwanted pregnancy.
“Some women will have children that they can’t afford and don’t want,” she said.
“It is well documented that when that happens that these children often end up living in poverty or become part of the child protection system.”
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Ms Fahey said it was not always possible for women to access the drug RU486 which could not be taken if the woman was more than nine weeks pregnant.
“We will keep advocating to have the procedure done in a public hospital in Tasmania.”
Women’s Health Tasmania agreed that the financial cost of a termination has been an ongoing issue.
“It is another hurdle some women find very difficult to find a solution to,” a spokeswoman said.
“Access to safe, timely and local medical procedures should not be based on your level of income.”
Women’s Health Tasmania would like to see abortions available in the public health system because they said termination was a medical procedure.
“It is not about how many women’s lives are negatively impacted by the lack of accessible services; it is the fact any woman is negatively impacted,” the spokeswoman said.
A spokesman for the Tasmanian Health Service said women could receive financial assistance if they had to travel interstate for a termination.
He said there were no figures available on the number of abortions because a surgical termination was coded the same as a curette.