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Historic move on medical abortion access


All Australian doctors and nurse practitioners will soon be able to prescribe medical abortion pills – and all pharmacies will be eligible to stock the pills.

The historic move announced by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) supports the federal government’s commitment to providing accessible abortion services.

From August, thousands of additional medical professionals will be able to provide abortion pills, removing red tape that currently means only 10% of doctors and 30% of pharmacies supply the pills.

Under the changes, doctors and pharmacists will no longer be required to obtain special certification to provide abortion pills.

Assistant Health Minister Ged Kearney told the Sydney Morning Herald women in Australia experienced structural barriers trying to access the care they need, particularly in regional and rural areas.

“We welcome these changes that remove red tape and improve equitable access to healthcare for all Australians,” she said.

Medical abortions include a two-course treatment of abortion pills and can be accessed within the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

The expansion of access to medical abortion pills will provide a “front-line” health intervention for people seeking abortion.

State and territory governments are expected to enact the new prescription guidelines in light of the TGA’s announcement.

The Queensland government announced in May its nurses and midwives would be among the first in Australia to prescribe the pills following the TGA’s sign off.

Queensland Unions Acting General Secretary Jacqueline King said the news was a welcome step in ending the “post code” lottery facing those seeking abortion.

“Abortion, like any other health service, should be safe, funded and accessible,” Ms King said.