WOMEN fearful of pursuing abortion are enduring violent relationships for the sake of their unborn children, according to the Wagga Women’s Health Centre (WWHC).
Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi joined forces with WWHC manager Gail Meyer on Tuesday to push for the decriminalisation of abortion across the state.
They claim Wagga women with abusive partners are being exposed to long-term domestic violence because they have little options to terminate a pregnancy.
“The nearest reproductive health clinic that performs pregnancy abortions is in Albury,” Ms Faruqi said.
“There isn’t even a clinic here.
“Women seeking abortion in Wagga will likely give up and choose to continue with their pregnancy – subjecting themselves to potentially abusive environments.
“It’s an issue of reproductive health and a basic human right.”
Dr Faruqi is tabling a private members bill for parliament which would see abortion decriminalised and women protected from intimidation and abuse when entering reproductive health facilities.
“More doctors will be able to provide the service without the fear of persecution or prosecution,” she said.
Wagga women seeking to have an abortion must travel to Albury’s Englehardt Street reproductive clinic.
Emilee Body had no regrets after having her pregnancy terminated at the Albury facility.
She remembered stories of women being harassed, filmed and handed plastic foetal dolls as they entered the clinic – but it wasn’t enough to deter her.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, but if someone's made that decision, don't try and get in a woman's way to change it,” she said.
“I have no profound physical or psychological effects or side-effects.
“I made a calculated and well thought-out decision that I would never change.”
According to the Greens, one in three women consider abortion throughout their lives.
The practice has been legalised in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, but remains outlawed in New South Wales.
Christian resident Tony Marley walked straight past Dr Faruqi when she was promoting the bill on Baylis Street.
“It’s immoral and inhumane on all levels,” he said.