Beginning on Thursday, the governing body of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) will offer complete financial coverage for the medical termination of pregnancy for women residing in Canberran, provided that they are within a gestational age of nine weeks.
Additionally, surgical abortion services will also be subsidized for women who are at a gestational age of up to sixteen weeks.
This policy has been introduced as an integral aspect of the government's commitment, articulated in August 2022, to enhance the availability of reproductive healthcare services.
Reproductive care is basic healthcare.
And today the ACT became the first jurisdiction in Australia to make abortions free.
It means Canberrans can focus on making the right decision for their health without worrying about the financial cost. pic.twitter.com/egmXvw6Vmi
As per the government's estimations, over the next four years, the implementation of the said program would incur a cost of AUD 4.6 million (equivalent to USD 3.08 million dollars). This makes ACT to be the first of Australia's eight states and territories to offer free abortions, with patients in the rest of the country facing out-of-pocket costs of up to 700 Australian dollars (469.6 U.S. dollars).
According to ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith, the government was proud to offer the critical healthcare service without significant stress and financial impact.
"We're really proud that the ACT is becoming the first jurisdiction to provide people with free surgical and medical abortions for anyone who needs it, up to 16 weeks," she was quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.
Following a survey carried out by Women's Health Matters (WHM), the foremost authority on women's health in the region, it was revealed that there exist considerable impediments for inhabitants of Canberran who are in need of access to abortion services.
Out of a total of 90 survey respondents, it was found that 12 individuals were unsuccessful in receiving access to abortion services within the ACT region.
"We've learned through our research how different barriers work together to make it really challenging to access what is a time-sensitive medical procedure," WHM chief executive Lauren Anthes said.