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Greens write to Roxon, urging federal role in resolving dangerous inconsistency around abortion legality

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 4 Sep 2009

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has written to federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon, urging her to convene an emergency meeting with state and territory health ministers and attorneys-general to resolve the inconsistency around Australia’s abortion laws.

Medical abortion services were recently suspended in Queensland following a lack of clarity around their legal status, forcing women to seek treatment interstate.

“The federal health minister cannot simply define abortion as a state issue and sit by as women are forced to seek urgent medical treatment in other states and territories,” said Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson for Women.

“I have written to Minister Roxon to urge her to convene an emergency meeting with her state and federal health minister counterparts and the nation’s attorneys-general to resolve this legal confusion.

“The dangerous situation that we saw in Queensland highlights the need for consistent laws governing access to terminations across all jurisdictions.”

Senator Hanson-Young said her letter referred to the cross-party Private Senator’s Bill that was passed in 2006 to remove the federal ministerial veto from medical abortion and allow for the use of RU486.

“Despite the Commonwealth’s decision to allow access to RU486, the inconsistent state and territory laws around abortion have led to the health of women being compromised,” she said.

“Regardless of the outcome of the current abortion case before the courts in Queensland, the Greens will continue to campaign for the rights of women to have proper access to the health services they need.

“Minister Roxon is a health minister for all Australians.

“Women and their families must be able to access a consistent quality of health service, no matter which state or territory they live in.

“The Greens urge the Commonwealth to act on its responsibility to resolve the inconsistency around abortion law.”

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