Canberra doctors will soon be able to prescribe abortion drugs | Canberra time

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GPs in Canberra will soon be able to prescribe drugs like the MS-2 Step, closing a loophole in the ACT law that required women to cross the border to access abortion pills. The laws – designed to make abortions cheaper and more accessible for women – originated in a private member’s bill by Green MP Caroline Le Couteur, which was amended by the Labor Party and passed on Wednesday. Abortions have been legal and regulated in the ACT since 2002, however, only a licensed physician can perform the procedure in a licensed facility. This means the only places women can access medical or surgical termination are the Marie Stopes Clinic, where the procedure costs around $500, or Canberra Hospital in certain circumstances. That hasn’t stopped women from using telehealth providers to source the pills, which can cut the cost of an abortion in half. Ms Le Couteur said the laws would bring the ACT in line with other Australian jurisdictions. “When I introduced this bill earlier in the year, I said it was high time the ACT expanded access to safe and legal pregnancy termination services, not for see them proliferate, but to ensure that every child born in ACT is a wanted child and that women are empowered to make safe, timely and informed decisions about their own bodies, their future well-being and that of their family,” Ms Le Couteur said. Canberra GP Registrar Dr Jess Tidemann said she was aware of people traveling to Queanbeyan for medication. “Cost is a real barrier,” said she said. Dr. Tidemann said the stigma around abortion was also a real concern. “It is conservatively estimated that one in four women in her lifetime will have an abortion. If people can access the service of their general practitioner, this can both facilitate ter access and reduce stigma, as there are many reasons you can present to a GP. It’s difficult with places like Marie Stopes, who provide a valuable service, but many women find it difficult to come to the service knowing why they are there. Particularly if there are issues of domestic violence, the less visible women feel when presenting themselves the better.” Dr Tidemann said the drugs were already subsidized by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and listed for prescription in the community.” It seems logical that they would be provided by a GP,” said Dr Tidemann. “By normalizing this within the primary health care setting, you de-stigmatize and facilitate access, which is important for me as a GP.” Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the new laws will be implemented over about a year to allow GPs, pharmacists and telehealth providers to adapt to the changes. She said medical practices that decide to offer medical abortions could opt for an exclusion zone, such as the one around the Marie Stopes Clinic. a progressive jurisdiction that strives to ensure women have access to safe medical abortion services on their own terms,” Ms Fitzharris said. to a number of doctors who support the possibility of prescribing this drug, so it is a good step that women now have more choice in ACT if they make the decision to have an abortion. Women’s Minister Yvette Berry said the new laws would “give women a greater choice of confidential and safe abortion services”. However, ACT opposition health spokeswoman Vicki Dunne spoke emotionally against the bill, saying the abortion drugs were dangerous and that she had reservations about the extension of abortion. “I think the Minister is overestimating the power of a handful of septuagenarians to disrupt the abortion industry in the ACT by simply saying the Rosary or reading their Bibles,” Ms Dunne said.


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