Consequences of abortion law reform in Victoria, Australia: perspectives of 19 abortion providers

In Victoria, Australia, abortion was decriminalised in October 2008, bringing the law in line with clinical practice and community attitudes. However, according to interviews with 19 abortion service providers from a range of health care settings and geographic locations in the state in 2014-15, while abortion law reform was a positive event, it was perceived to have changed little about the provision of abortion. All the providers agreed that law reform had repositioned abortion as a health service rather than a legal issue, had shifted the power in decision-making from doctors to women, and had increased clarity and safety for doctors.However, all of them also described outstanding concerns, including limited public provision of surgical abortion, reduced access to abortion after 20 weeks, ongoing stigma, lack of a state-wide strategy for equitable abortion provision, and an unsustainable workforce. Thus, a number of significant issues in abortion service provision have remained, and may even have resulted in a lull in action.

ABSTRACT: Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, by LA Keogh, D Newton, C Bayly, K McNamee, A Hardiman, A Webster, M Bismark, 2 December 2016. DOI: 10.1136/jfprhc-2016-101541 + VISUAL