A report on Dr Richelle Douglas’ presentation “Abortion: empowering the clinical workforce”
This symposium explored equity of access to contraception and abortion, with Dr Douglas providing a clear voice in not only explaining what some of the issues are, but also what can be done to overcome them. She discussed access and uptake of abortion globally, attitudes to abortion, implications of training and how we can begin to improve. My main takeaway was that access to abortion training is limited, which has serious implications for our patients.
Half of all pregnancies are unintended and 1 in 4 women have a termination of pregnancy (TOP) at some time in their lives. Unintended pregnancies have a higher risk of maternal morbidity and mortality. Therefore improving access to contraception and abortion can improve maternal mortality rates. In general, these facts are not debated, but what is less straightforward is how to overcome this problem. In Australia there are limited public facilities that provide abortion training and services. This results in massive inequity of access, with the most vulnerable people in our community often unable to pay for and access a TOP.