Canberra will offer abortions for free under new government plan
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ABC News reports that the government will spend $4.6 million (USD $3.2m or £2.6m) out of pocket over the next four years to ensure residents can ‘make decisions about their healthcare based on what [was] best for them and their bodies’.
Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry said the new initiative was a long time coming.
"This means that individuals will be supported to make a choice about having an abortion without being influenced by financial barriers," she said.
"It also means that having an abortion can occur in a time-sensitive manner without being delayed due to an inability to pay."
The new service will be implemented mid-next year and will also be available to those who don’t possess Medicare.
The ACT Government will ensure Canberrans have access to safe, accessible and affordable abortion services with funding for free medical and surgical abortions up to 16 weeks.— Andrew Barr MLA (@ABarrMLA) August 3, 2022
From early next year, all ACT residents will be eligible, including those without a Medicare card.
CEO of Women’s Health Matters Lauren Anthes, welcomed the news via a media release: “There are significant financial barriers to people accessing termination of pregnancy services in the ACT, particularly for our more vulnerable cohorts.
“This funding and access for those without Medicare cards will help to reduce these barriers and allow people timely access to these services in the ACT.”
In addition to the funding, the state government announced they would help develop a communications package to ensure everyone understands how to access free abortion.
The ACT government’s decision came after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe V Wade, which led 13 states to ban abortion effectively immediately through ‘trigger laws’.
However, earlier this week, around 59 per cent of voters in Kansas voted ‘no’ to not amend the state’s constitution on abortion rights despite having a large Republican presence, as per The New York Times.
It was the first state to put abortion to a vote following the US Supreme Court’s decision in late June.
President Joe Biden saluted Kansas’ win by saaying: “This vote makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own healthcare decisions.”
NPR reports that Trust Women, which owns two clinics in Kansas, said that they would continue to provide abortion care while expanding it across the state.
"We cannot be content with the status quo," the organisation said.
"The loss of Roe has brought with it an unprecedented and manufactured health care crisis that is not solved by this election."