It’s time to lift the restrictions on medical abortion in Australia – Professor Caroline de Costa

The Conversation, April 1, 2019 6.13am AEDT

Over the past thirteen years, many Australian women have used the drug mifepristone (RU486) to bring about a medical abortion.

Rather than undergoing a surgical abortion in a clinic or hospital operating theatre, a medical abortion is induced by taking drugs prescribed by a doctor.

But while mifepristone has been available in Australia since 2006, only some women, in some parts of the country, are able to access it. Professor Caroline de Costa argues in the Medical Journal of Australia that this needs to change.

National abortion data vital to safe, accessible services

MJA InSight+, Issue 10 / 18 March 2019

EXPERTS are in the dark about the extent to which abortion is contributing to Australia’s historically low teenage birth rate, prompting renewed calls for the collection of national abortion data.

In a Perspective published by the MJA, Professor Susan Sawyer, Chair of Adolescent Health at the University of Melbourne, and Dr Jennifer Marino, research fellow at the University of Melbourne, have called for the collection of abortion data in all states and territories, with national integration and analysis. They further called for publicly funded abortion clinics in all states and territories, with a feasible plan for access for people living in remote areas.

World Medical Association updates advice on medically indicated termination of pregnancy

Australian Medical Association, October 21, 2018

Revised advice to physicians on medically indicated termination of pregnancy has been issued by the World Medical Association.

At its recent annual General Assembly in Reykjavik, the WMA reiterated that where the law allows medically indicated termination of pregnancy to be performed, the procedure should be carried out by a competent physician.

However, it agreed that in extreme cases it could be performed by another qualified health care worker. An extreme case would be a situation where only an abortion would save the life of the mother and no physician was available, as might occur in many parts of the world. This amends previous WMA advice from 2006 that only physicians should undertake such procedures.

Almost one-third of unplanned pregnancies end in abortion

Med J Aust , Published online: 7 October 2018

ONE in four women who responded to a national telephone survey reported falling pregnant in the past 10 years without planning to do so, and 30.4% of those pregnancies ended in abortion, according to the authors of a research letter published online today by the Medical Journal of Australia.

Ten years after the only other national household survey on the subject of mistimed or unplanned pregnancy, researchers led by Professor Angela Taft, a principal research fellow at the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University, undertook a national random computer-assisted telephone (mobile and landline) survey (weekdays, 9 am–8 pm) during December 2014 – May 2015. Women aged 18–45 years with adequate English were asked whether they had had an unintended pregnancy during the past 10 years, and whether any unintended pregnancy was unwanted.

Despite the availability of effective contraception in Australia, we found that, as in the United States, about half of the unintended pregnancies were in women not using contraception. Research is required to explore the reasons for not doing so, and to determine where education would be most helpful

Let’s Recognise The Huge Decline In Teenage Pregnancy, And Try To Understand What’s Driven It

Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service

Huffington Post UK 

In a new report, Social media, SRE and Sensible Drinking: Understanding the dramatic decline in teenage pregnancy, BPAS set out to explore some of the factors behind the decline in teen pregnancy, talking to teenagers themselves about how they live their lives – and the extent to which lifestyle changes – from lower alcohol consumption to time spent online – have impacted upon teenage pregnancy rates.

Informed consent, individual care vital to ensure reproductive rights of transgender Australians

The Conversation

By Damien Riggs

July 11, 2018 6.02am AEST

For any person needing medical care, informed consent is vital. Yet for transgender people, informed consent may be hindered by how medical professionals share information. This is especially the case in the context of reproductive health, where speaking about reproductive materials is often highly gendered.

Both the World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care and the Royal Children’s Hospital’s Standards of Care and Treatment Guidelines for Trans and Gender Diverse Children and Adolescents emphasise the importance of discussing fertility preservation as an option for transgender people. Yet little guidance is given on how to do so in ways that are inclusive.