The Victorian Women’s Health Services Network (WHSN) warmly welcome the State Government’s commitment to improving abortion access across Melbourne. The introduction of Eastern Health’s surgical abortion service and plans to establish services at Western Health and Peninsula Health, will ensure that women can access public abortion services that are safe, timely and close to their home and social support networks.
Tricia Currie, Chair of WHSN and Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Health Loddon Mallee, said that the Women’s Health Services have been advocating for public hospitals with maternity capacity to provide abortion services, recognising it is a crucial element in ensuring women’s access to high-quality healthcare, and safeguarding their ability to exercise their reproductive rights.
“We thank the Minister for Health Mary-Anne Thomas, Members of Parliament and pro-choice advocates across our sector who have worked tirelessly to secure public access to abortion healthcare,” Ms Currie said. “We express our gratitude to the Victorian Government for its commitment to Victorian women’s sexual and reproductive health and for its efforts to enhance abortion healthcare access and equity.”
“We welcome the announcement that Box Hill Hospital, the largest of Eastern health’s acute hospitals, will commence surgical abortion services,” said Elly Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Health East. “Publicly funded abortion healthcare is a fundamental component of sexual and reproductive healthcare and an important public health issue.”
“Peninsula Health’s provision of abortion services marks a crucial stride for equitable healthcare access. In Melbourne’s southeast region, nearly 700,000 women lack access to this essential service, with no public hospitals listed on 1800 My Options,” said Kit McMahon, Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Health in the South East.
The WHSN noted that while increased public access in Melbourne represented significant progress, more needs to be done to increase public access for women in rural and regional Victoria.
“Data from the Victorian Women’s Health Atlas and 1800 My Options shows that there are large parts of Victorian’s rural and regional areas that has no public abortion service provision,” said Marianne Hendron, Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Health Grampians. “There are no services between Warrnambool and Mildura or east of Leongatha, which means that women are incurring significant costs relating to travel, childcare, accommodation and expenses associated with having to access an abortion in a private clinic.”
“The WHSN is committed to working alongside government to increase access to abortion services by building the clinical capacity and expertise of hospitals, health services and the primary care sector to provide abortion and contraception services,” said Ms Currie.
The WHSN are feminist pro-choice organisations that bring an evidence-based understanding of the Victorian sexual and reproductive health service system. For further information about the WHSN, please visit the Women’s Health Services Website – https://www.whsn.org.au/
Tricia Currie, Chair Women’s Health Service Network
About Women’s Health Services Network
The Women’s Health Services Network has been a driving force progressing and shaping Victoria’s women’s health and equality space for four decades. While our services were established and funded independently of one another, collaboration has been a strong part of our history. Today, the 12 women’s health services funded through the state government’s Victorian Women’s Health Program collaborate under the title the ‘Victorian Women’s Health Services Network’. This enables us to work as a coordinated, mutually-reinforcing statewide network comprising both place-based and specialist services.