'All options exhausted': Regional QLD will lose key abortion services

‘All options exhausted’: Regional QLD will lose key abortion care with Maries Stopes closures

Marie Stopes

Abortion access and care in regional Queensland is set to take a significant hit, with Marie Stopes announcing it’s run out of options for continuing such care across these parts of the state.

As of August, the country’s largest and only nationally accredited abortion provider will be closing its Queensland clinics in Rockhampton, Townsville and Southport, as well as one clinic in Newcastle, NSW.

It will continue to retain its national teleheath service, along with clinics in five states.

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The news comes today a little over two years since Queensland decrminialised abortions.

Marie Stopes noted a number of key reasons behind announcing the closures, including financial difficulties in maintaining such services as well as problems finding skilled practitioners across these regions — often due to the stigma still associated with providing this support to women.

It noted the financial hit it’s experienced through the pandemic, as well as difficulties in accessing opportunities to for shared expenses by working with other practitioners — again, it says, due to the associated stigma. Marie Stopes has also struggled with new lease terms, along with anticipated costs are accreditation, standards and regulation.

Marie Stopes managing director Jamal Hakim said the closures has been a tough decision.

“We fought long and hard with many of our supporters for these clinics and our staff are absolutely committed, but we just can’t make these clinics work financially so we’re going work with government and partners to continue to ensure safe abortion care is available to all, because abortion is a fundamental human right in a modern democracy.”

He noted that with the health environment changing and more people wanting virtual care, the organisation will be addressing changes in this space also.

‘We’re fiercely committed to abortion care but before we announce our new plan to meet these challenges, we’re taking this moment to grieve with our passionate staff and supporters.”

There will be 49 staff member impacted, with Marie Stope aiming to redeploy roles where possible.

Marie Stopes said it will continue to take bookings until the end of July, and will be working with local hospitals to ensure women have access to abortion care.

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