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The effect of COVID-19 on services working in unplanned pregnancy and abortion

Since the COVID-19 crisis Children by Choice and other women’s health and wellbeing services working in unplanned pregnancy and abortion have noticed an increase in the number of people enquiring about medication abortion.

Reasons for this include:

  • restricted periods of movement

  • efforts to manage social distancing

  • and the need to stay home and manage other responsibilities such as additional caring duties due to school closures.

In the early stages of the pandemic, there were changes made to Telehealth which enabled more people to access the healthcare they needed remotely. For a short time pregnant people eligible for Medicare had safe, timely and affordable access to abortion care via the Telehealth service.

Since then, the Australian Government has rolled back the Medicare subsidy available for telehealth appointments unless it's with a regular GP. This support is being removed when financial pressures are only increasing with a rising unemployment rate and while movement restrictions are still in place for many Australians.

Children by Choice has been supporting the sector to reinstate Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) telehealth item numbers for the purpose of accessing abortion care via telehealth.

There are a few actionable steps individuals and organisations can take to support the campaign - sign the Centre for Research Excellence in Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health (SPHERE) petition here:

And the Fair Agenda petition here:

- submitted by Daile Kelleher, Children by Choice

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