Almost two thirds of the women seeking abortions at a Wodonga clinic are from the Murrumbidgee area, according to a doctor who works there.
Dr Catherine Orr, who is the medical director of Gateway Health, said “more than 60 per cent of our women come from Murrumbidgee”.
“The main issue for us is the lack of uniform laws on abortion, safe access zones, consent for sex – adolescents and age of consent – and the complete lack of abortion service in Wagga,” Dr Orr said.
A Facebook post by the We Need Reproductive Rights Rural NSW group has reignited debate about the lack of termination facilities in Wagga.
The nearest clinics are in Albury and Wodonga, or Canberra.
After the decision by the Queensland Government in October to change its laws, NSW remains the only state where abortion is still considered a criminal offence.
NSW abortion laws have not been updated in a century, according to more than 30 organisations, including Amnesty International, the Human Rights Law Centre and the Australian College of Nursing, which have this week signed an open letter calling for abortion to be made legal in NSW.
The letter raised concerns about women who “are required to travel hundreds of kilometres across state borders to access a safe abortion”.
"We are very concerned that they increase the distress, delay and financial burden faced by a woman who needs abortion care and that they disproportionately harm women living in rural and remote areas, who already have limited access to healthcare," the letter read.
Julie Mecham from the Wagga Women’s Health Centre said she was noticing a shift in thinking, with abortion increasingly being seen as a human rights issue.
“Focusing in on that perspective makes a lot more sense. As a human rights issue, having access to appropriate, affordable options for women is a necessity and there is a gap in service for women in this area,” Ms Mecham said.
Gail Meyer from the health centre said there had never been a freestanding abortion clinic in Wagga.
“I understandable that from time to time, medical reasons, it has been available in Wagga, but predominantly, women have had to travel,’ Ms Meyer said.
“It’s about who has the right to choose for somebody else what they do with their own body.”