MCWH staff sitting together and sharing stories on International Women’s Day 2021
MCWH staff sitting together and sharing stories on International Women’s Day 2021

This week politicians, clinicians, nurses and health advocates will travel to Parliament House in Canberra to discuss women’s health. The RANZCOG women’s health summit is taking place as we mark two years into the ten year National Women’s Health Strategy. The theme of this year’s Summit is ‘Time to Act’.

The National Women’s Health Strategy frames migrant and refugee women as a ‘priority population’, and sexual and reproductive health as the first ‘priority area’. In July the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health will be publishing a data report on the state of migrant and refugee women’s sexual and reproductive health…


A diverse group of women standing in line. They are wearing different styles of blue denim jeans and white shirts.
A diverse group of women standing in line. They are wearing different styles of blue denim jeans and white shirts.

This week at Parliament House in Canberra, we join decision-makers from across Australia who are gathering for the RANZCOG Women’s Health Summit. The theme of this year’s Summit is ‘Time to Act’.

This moment in time is significant. For the first time in over 100 years, any woman or pregnant person in Australia can access abortion without the threat of being criminalised.

In Australia abortion is a common women’s health procedure; almost 1 in 4 women in Australia have had an abortion. Abortion is Category 1 essential healthcare. Yet abortion remains one of the least accessible or equitable healthcare services…


Female nurse wearing a mask looking out the window.

The history of people picketing outside of abortion clinics is well known, almost anachronistic, however, this does not diminish the stress that it causes not only the clients but also the staff who are dedicated to providing an emotionally and physically safe space. People accessing or leaving premises providing abortions should be able to do so freely, and in a manner that protects their safety and wellbeing, and respects their privacy and dignity.

Jackie is a Nurse Unit Manager and has worked in abortion clinics across Australia for around 18 years. She has worked at sexual and reproductive healthcare clinics…


A photo of someone’s torso and arms, picturing them moving medication between shelves.
A photo of someone’s torso and arms, picturing them moving medication between shelves.

2021 will be a momentous year for sexual and reproductive health rights in Australia.

This will be the first year in over 100 years that every woman or pregnant person can access abortion in Australia without the threat of being criminalised. It is the first time in history that medical abortion via telehealth will be legal in every state and territory of Australia.

Despite this progress, abortion access in Australia is still a postcode lottery.

Today MS Health published data on the number of prescribers (doctors/nurse practitioners) and dispensers (pharmacists) of medical abortion in Australia.* …


This week the South Australian lower house (House of Assembly) is debating the Termination of Pregnancy Bill (the Bill). Two amendments have been proposed that attempt to define and ban sex-selective abortion.

The amendments proposed in the lower house would have consequences for migrant communities and communities of colour in South Australia. Here we outline the key consequences and action required.

Existing barriers to healthcare would be amplified

The Right to Health includes sexual and reproductive health, and enshrines health access as free discrimination or judgement. But rather than addressing discrimination, these amendments are more likely to facilitate it.

Many…


A photo of a nurse sitting at a desk. She is doing a telehealth appointment, holding up a phone using the video function- whilst taking notes on a clipboard.
A photo of a nurse sitting at a desk. She is doing a telehealth appointment, holding up a phone using the video function- whilst taking notes on a clipboard.

South Australia is the only state or territory in Australia where abortion is criminalised. Yet, in the coming days and weeks, there is a chance to rectify this and bring South Australia in line with the rest of the country.

This week the lower house (House of Assembly) is discussing the Termination of Pregnancy Bill (the Bill). Here’s five key facts about existing abortion law and the proposed reforms.

Existing laws criminalise health access and healthcare

The South Australian criminal code currently criminalises people who:

  • access abortion themselves
  • supports someone else who chooses abortion, to access abortion care
  • are qualified…

A photo of a clinical setting with three people in scrubs doing administration. In the foreground a nurse is on the phone.
A photo of a clinical setting with three people in scrubs doing administration. In the foreground a nurse is on the phone.

Today is the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women. In recognition of this, Marie Stopes Australia has launched the second edition of Hidden Forces: a white paper on reproductive coercion in Australia.

Reproductive coercion is behaviour that interferes with the autonomy of a person to make decisions about their reproductive health and is a form of violence. It includes:

  • sabotage of another person’s contraception
  • pressuring another person into pregnancy
  • controlling the outcome of another person’s pregnancy
  • forcing or coercing another person into sterilisation; and
  • any other behaviour that interferes with the autonomy of a person to make…

A cartoon of a teacher standing at the front of a classroom. She is pointing at the smart board which reads: Reproductive coercion is not a buzzword. There are a class of students in front of her, and a clock and some shelves in the background.

‘Reproductive coercion’ is a term that’s often misused in policy, misinterpreted between languages and misunderstood in practice. Reproductive coercion is fast becoming a buzzword. And that needs to stop now.

Reproductive coercion is when a person is restricted from making choices about their own body, sexuality and reproductive healthcare. The opposite of reproductive coercion is reproductive autonomy. Reproductive autonomy is when we have access to information, the knowledge and the agency to make decisions about our own sexual and reproductive health.

Reproductive coercion first emerged in English language publications in the 1960s, when it was used to describe contexts of…


The word unprecedented has been used so frequently over the past four months. Perhaps this is because we have no words for what we have experienced, and very few people in the world would have a point of reference to which they can compare it. In one monumental sense, we are experiencing a global trauma — something that most of us have not experienced in our lifetimes.

When it comes to the impact of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health, however, I don’t believe that we can use the term unprecedented. We have seen clients struggle to access healthcare inter…


As a global pandemic, COVID-19 has enhanced existing and created new stresses and strains on the structural and interpersonal aspects of our lives. The initial evidence that is emerging from countries across the world is indicating that the pandemic has increased the risk and occurrence of violence, including reproductive coercion and gender-based violence.

While it is important to investigate the impacts that COVID-19 has on gender based violence, including various forms of family, domestic and sexual violence, it is important to note that the pandemic has not directly caused this violence and coercion to occur. …

Marie Stopes Australia

Marie Stopes Australia is the leading, accredited, national provider for abortion, contraception and vasectomy.

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