By SARAH KRASNOSTEIN
A woman in Australia may think she can freely access a safe abortion if she needs to. Until she finds out she can’t.
A woman in Australia may think that the battle for control over her body has been fought and won. Until she finds out it hasn’t.
In case the news that the Government is considering adding RU486 – the medical abortion pill – to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) has lulled you into thinking that women have made equality gains in Australia, think again.
Only since last August have I had somewhat, kind of, free-ish access to a medicine that is on the World Heath Organization list of essential medicines. A medicine that is available to my counterparts in about 50 other countries, some for the last 25 years.
Currently, RU486 is prohibitively expensive for many of the women who need it. It is prescribed by doctors in a limited number of clinics that many of those women cannot easily get to. And the only reason that it is available at all in Australia is because private providers took up the slack on the government’s obligation to provide access to health care.