Monday, February 07, 2005

Marie Stopes Release 03/02/05

3 February 2005 - For immediate release

Australia’s leading sexual and reproductive healthcare organisation, Marie Stopes International, today voiced concern over Senator Ron Boswell’s motives for issuing questions on notice to Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott on the number of abortions being carried out in Australia.

Marie Stopes International’s Australian CEO, Suzanne Dvorak, said that there was a need for the Commonwealth Government to collect more accurate abortion statistics, but that the reason for collecting this information should not be to push a personal agenda.

“Senator Boswell has a right to seek further information about the issue, but at the same time the Australian general public also has a right to know his real intentions for doing so,” she said.

“Australians should be concerned if the questions have been lodged for the sole reason of further restricting a woman’s access to termination services.

“Statistics that are available confirm that the vast majority of terminations performed in Australia are within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

“The fact is women will continue to seek access to termination services and the wrong political action can pressure women into taking significant health risks.”

The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes 2003, conducted by the Centre for Social Research at the ANU, found that over 80% of Australians agree with a women’s right to choose an abortion [1].

A major research study recently published by Marie Stopes International and Quantum Market Research also found that 84% of general practitioners (GPs) believe all women should have access to termination services [2].

“Research shows that the majority of Australian’s support a woman’s right to have an abortion,” Ms Dvorak said.

“Political parties should support the rights of women to determine their own reproductive lives – regardless of the personal beliefs of individual parliamentary members.

“Specific religious doctrine concerning abortion should also not dictate government policy concerning access to abortion services for women facing an unplanned pregnancy.

“Women must be able to make their own decision about whether to have a termination - and politicians should assist this process by ensuring that they are provided with access to un-biased information, support and the highest medical care.”

Marie Stopes International is a not-for-profit sexual and reproductive healthcare provider, with centres in the ACT, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. The organisation offers a range of services, including abortion, vasectomy, female sterilisation, sexually transmitted infection check-ups and contraception. Surplus proceeds from Australian activities support the work of the Marie Stopes International Partnership, which delivers sexual and reproductive health services to over four million people in 37 countries worldwide.

1. Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA) 2003, ACSPRI Centre for Social Research (ACSR) - Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University.
2. General Practitioners: Attitudes to Abortion – Marie Stopes International & Quantum Market Research, November 2004

For more information on Marie Stopes International, visit


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