Senate debates

Thursday, 12 August 2021


Sexual and Reproductive Health

1:50 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Access to affordable sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion and contraception, is part of everyone's right to control their own body. Campaigns for reproductive rights have been hard fought over decades, and I pay tribute to my Greens colleagues across the country and long-term advocates, like Beryl Holmes, in my home state of Queensland, for their tireless efforts.

The decriminalisation of abortion across Australia, including in Queensland in 2018, finally recognised that reproductive choice is a health issue, yet we are seeing conservative governments in many states of America recriminalising abortion and defunding services. Just this week, Mr George Christensen introduced into the House his nonsensical and regressive 'children born alive' bill in another attempt to push the anti-abortion agenda. I hope that bill will never be debated, but it has the backing of the Queensland LNP conference and Senator Canavan, which says a lot about the LNP's attitude to women.

The Greens will continue to work at federal and state levels to ensure that abortion is safe, accessible, free and legal in all Australian states and territories. Despite decriminalisation, abortions can still be expensive and difficult to access, particularly for those in rural and regional Australia. Access has been made even harder with the recent closure of Marie Stopes clinics in regional Queensland and northern New South Wales. Abortion care should be available in public hospitals across Australia, and telehealth services for reproductive health care should be a permanent feature of our Medicare system.

The Greens will continue to support safe zones so that people accessing abortions are not subject to harassment for undergoing medical procedures—I was pleased to see WA pass legislation for safe zones earlier this week—and we'll make sure that unbiased professional counselling is available to all who want it but never mandatory. The Greens will always support the right to safe, legal and affordable access to reproductive health care. (Time expired)


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