• Ferguson talks women’s health but ignores the elephant in the room
• Unacceptable that termination services unavailable since January
• Minister’s personal views still allowed to influence lack of access
Health Minister Michael Ferguson has deliberately avoided addressing the lack of termination services in Tasmania in his women’s health announcement today.
Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said while any additional funding toward elective surgery was welcome, Michael Ferguson is still failing to address the critical terminations issue.
“There is no mention of reproductive health in Michael Ferguson’s announcement today and it’s been nearly nine months now since a low cost service for termination of pregnancy was available in this state,” Ms Lovell said.
“For nine months, women have had to travel to another state to access this service and Michael Ferguson is simply refusing to address this critical issue – it’s beyond belief that the Health Minister and Premier Hodgman consider that acceptable.
“We know that this is a subject that he is clearly uncomfortable with but it’s a subject that is very important to Tasmanian women and something that he needs to act on now.
“At the same time what the government has promised in relation to reproductive health services is nowhere near enough.
“Earlier this year, Michael Ferguson said he was in negotiations with a low cost provider to provide services in Tasmania. But he is yet to provide any information about what ‘low cost’ means, about whether there will be any public funding to assist women with access, about the frequency of this service or where it will be located.
“We’re yet to hear whether those negotiations have been finalised and if services are on track to start in October.
“This remains an enormous problem, it remains an enormous gap and it remains an enormous denial of a safe and legal medical procedure to Tasmanian women.”
Sarah Lovell MLC Shadow Health and Preventative Health Care Minister