AUSTRALIA – Abortion Care is Health Care: A History of the Challenges facing Medical Abortion Provision in Australia and the People Trying to Overcome Them

by Barbara Baird

In this book, Barbara Baird tells the history of the provision of abortion care in Australia since 1990. Against the backdrop of a reticent public sector, she describes a system of predominantly private provision, which has imposed barriers to access on women already marginalised by poverty, rural and remote residency, lack of Medicare entitlement, racism and other factors. Tracing changes in the private sector, the long struggle to make medical abortion available and the nationwide decriminalisation of abortion since 2002, Baird introduces readers to the large cast of ‘champions’ and everyday healthcare workers and activists who have persisted in their commitment to make abortion care available when governments in the eight provinces of the country and the medical profession have so often failed. Drawing on oral history interviews conducted nationwide with abortion-providing doctors, nurses, counsellors and managers, women’s health workers, academics and community activists, Baird brings a critical feminist analysis to create a sophisticated historical narrative of abortion provision over the last 30 years.

Barbara works in Women’s and Gender Studies at Flinders University and researches Australian histories of sexuality and reproduction. Since 2017 she has been the Co-Convenor of the South Australian Abortion Action Coalition.

Published by Melbourne University Press, 3 October 2023 ; ISBN 9780522878400 ; 320 pages

Also available as an e-book.