Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (19 September) . . Page.. 3853 ..
As a member of the crossbench, I do not have the same powers as the government to address some of the financial barriers, but I will continue to advocate strongly for these issues. One of the major reasons to support medical abortions is that there is the real possibility that they can be substantially cheaper than surgical abortions, and this is an issue for many people who may have the need to access them.
There are other issues, such as the fact that the Medicare rebate for pregnancy counselling and support specifically excludes abortion. That is, of course, beyond the jurisdiction of the ACT. Indeed, there is the stagnation of Medicare rebates for diagnostic services such as medical imaging and pathology, which is leading to bigger and bigger increases in out-of-pocket costs to healthcare consumers for these services. This is another barrier to women accessing essential services. For all of these issues, we must all talk to our federal colleagues of all political persuasions so that we can address the gaps and barriers to people accessing and exercising their fundamental sexual and reproductive health rights.
In conclusion, I would like to acknowledge once again the invaluable feedback received from some of the key stakeholders in the ACT, including the ACT Human Rights Commission, the Women's Centre for Health Matters, Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT, Marie Stopes Australia, the ACT branch of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the Australian Medical Association ACT, the ACT chapter of the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners and a number of GPs who have approached me directly with their professional experience on this issue. I thank them very much for their support for the intentions of this bill and the improvements in abortion access that the bill is seeking to achieve.
I also want very much to thank my fellow members of the Legislative Assembly for the thoughtful and respectful way in which this debate has been conducted, be it by someone who intends to vote for the bill or someone who intends to vote against the bill. I thank you all very much for this. Madam Speaker, I commend the bill to the Assembly.
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
The Assembly voted—
Ayes 15: Miss C Burch Ms J Burch Ms Cheyne Ms Cody Ms Fitzharris Mr Gentleman Mr Hanson Ms Lawder Ms Le Couteur Ms Lee Ms Orr Mr Pettersson Mr Ramsay Mr Rattenbury Mr Steel
Noes 4: Mr Coe Mrs Dunne Mrs Kikkert Mr Wall
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.