This is an urgent appeal for Right to Lifers to get active!
What is this ACTION ALERT all about?
This is an urgent appeal to Right to Lifers to make our own submissions to a Senate Inquiry into what is called Universal Access To Reproductive Healthcare.
A Senate committee is now holding an Inquiry into universal access to reproductive health care.
Behind this innocent sounding name for the Inquiry, it is really an Inquiry into Easier Access to and more freely available Abortion in Australia.This is our chance to have our say.
The word "submission" will frighten most of us!
With that word "submission", we are just talking about a personal letter to the Inquiry.
No matter how short or informal our own individual submissions to this inquiry may be, what is essential is that we each make and send one in.
Submissions must be sent before 15th December 2022.
Following the overturning of Roe v Wade in June by the US Supreme Court, which ended a supposed federal constitutional right to abortion in the United States, Senator Larissa Waters, Greens Senate Leader (Queensland) successfully moved on 28th September, 2022, for what Senator Waters called an innocently sounding senate committee inquiry into Universal Access To Reproductive Healthcare.
However in a Greens' Party Media Release, Senator Larissa Waters wrote, "In the wake of Roe v Wade, the federal government should look at what it can do to eliminate Australia's barriers to accessible and affordable abortion.". Senator Larissa Waters' goal in proposing and moving for this inquiry is to make abortion more easily and more freely accessible across Australia - i.e., more abortions, not less.
The Senate Community Affairs References Committee is conducting the inquiry.
The closing date for submissions is 15 December 2022.
The Senate Community Affairs References Committee is due to report back by 31 March 2023.
Here are the Terms of Reference of this Inquiry, which may sound innocent enough:
The Terms of Reference of this Senate Committee of Inquiry
Barriers to achieving priorities under the National Women's Health Strategy for 'universal access to sexual and reproductive health information, treatment and services that offer options to women to empower choice and control in decision-making about their bodies', with particular reference to:
- cost and accessibility of contraceptives, including:
- PBS coverage and TGA approval processes for contraceptives,
- awareness and availability of long-acting reversible contraceptive and male contraceptive options, and
- options to improve access to contraceptives, including over the counter access, longer prescriptions, and pharmacist interventions;
- cost and accessibility of reproductive healthcare, including pregnancy care and termination services across Australia, particularly in regional and remote areas;
- workforce development options for increasing access to reproductive healthcare services, including GP training, credentialing and models of care led by nurses and allied health professionals;
- best practice approaches to sexual and reproductive healthcare, including trauma-informed and culturally appropriate service delivery;
- sexual and reproductive health literacy;
- experiences of people with a disability accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare;
- experiences of transgender people, non-binary people, and people with variations of sex characteristics accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare;
- availability of reproductive health leave for employees; and
- any other related matter.
Comments on the Terms of Reference of this Inquiry
The Preliminary Paragraph: "Barriers to achieving priorities under the National Women's Health Strategy for 'universal access to sexual and reproductive health information, treatment and services that offer options to women to empower choice and control in decision-making about their bodies', with particular reference to .. ."
It is a fact that unless pregnant women are provided full information about what options and services are available to them, they are left uninformed and unable to make the best possible choice for life.
Note Term b.:"cost and accessibility of reproductive healthcare, including pregnancy care and termination services across Australia, particularly in regional and remote areas;"
The term "reproductive healthcare"is used to include "termination services", i.e., abortions.
Abortions are NOT about "reproductive healthcare" because abortions kill the living unborn baby and so STOP reproduction.
This Term b is focused on making abortions more freely available across regional and remote areas.
Note Term c.: "workforce development options for increasing access to reproductive healthcare services, including GP training, credentialing and models of care led by nurses and allied health professionals;"
Now we are clear that "reproductive healthcare" includes abortions, the "workforce development" is all about making abortions more accessible. Note that "care led by nurses and allied health care professionals" is opening the doors for these people to participate in providing abortions.
Note Term d.: "best practice approaches to sexual and reproductive healthcare, including trauma-informed and culturally appropriate service delivery;"
Behind the language of this Term d is pointing to freer and wider access to abortions for the widest possible ranges of the population.
Note Term e.: "sexual and reproductive health literacy".
This Term e is aimed at wider sex education and wider dissemination of knowledge of abortions in the view that the more people are told about abortions the more abortions will be accessed by women.
Note Term f, g and h are included to make "reproductive healthcare" more accessible and freely available. Note the euphemism, "reproductive healthcare" is used to these three Terms f, g and h.
Note Term i.:"any other related matter".
This final term, "any other related matter", opens a huge scope for us to make our comments on the Inquiry as proposed by Senator Waters. More on this below.
Members of the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs References
|•Chair Senator Janet Rice
|Australian Greens, VIC
|•Deputy Chair Senator Marielle Smith
|Australian Labor Party, SA
|Senator Wendy Askew
|Liberal Party of Australia, TAS
|Senator Slade Brockman
|Liberal Party of Australia, WA
|Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price
|Country Liberal Party, NT
|Senator Louise Pratt
|Australian Labor Party, WA
Some Simple Tips for Writing Your submission
The best submissions:
- clearly address ONLY one or more of the Terms of Reference - you don't need to address them all!
- are relevant to this Inquiry and contain your own views
- are brief. A few paragraphs are enough. Certainly, no longer than four pages!
- begin with a short introduction about yourself
- emphasise your key points so that they are clear
- outline not only what the issues are but how issued raised in the Terms of Reference can be addressed, as the committee wants submissions with ideas to make appropriate recommendations
- only include documents that directly relate to your key points
- only include information you would be happy to see published on the internet.
Submissions that include complex argument, lengthy personal details or criticise someone may take the committee longer to process and consider.
Here is a sample letter we have written to assist you.Download sample letter.
Submission checklistBefore you send us your submission, check:
|Have you commented on some or all of the terms of reference?
|Is your submission long? If necessary, have you provided a summary of your submission at the start?
|Have you provided your return address and contact details with the submission?
|Have you made sure that your personal contact details are not in the main part of the submission?
Delivering your submission
As many inquiries attract high levels of interest, committees prefer to accept submissions via the online system. The on-line submission site is secure and is suitable for uploading sensitive and confidential material. Click here to lodge your submission.
If you upload your submission through the Senate's website, you will receive an email straight away that lets you know that the secretariat has received your submission.
You can submit by email, but please be aware that this is not an automated process and it may take longer for you to receive an acknowledgement that your submission has been received.
You can email your submission to the committee secretariat or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also submit your submission by post to:
The Secretary, Community Affairs References Committee
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Now writing your own Submission.... Remember!
- Think of your submission simply as a letter to the members of the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs References!
- This is a great opportunity to put forward your voice in defence of life - both by pushing back on the aggressive pro-abortion agenda and also taking the opportunity to promote organisations such as pregnancy help centres which are saving lives by giving invaluable assistance to pregnant women.
- As already written above, your submission can simply be a short letter or you can make it quite long - up to maybe four pages.
- When writing your submission, it's important that what you write is within the Terms of Reference. Anything which you write outside of the terms of reference will not be considered.
- Don't wander off the subject!
Some Specific Points You May Wish to Address
Term of Reference b states: 'Cost and accessibility of reproductive healthcare, including pregnancy care …'
With reference to the phrase 'pregnancy care', You may wish to urge the Committee of Inquiry to include in the investigation, research into the invaluable work that pregnancy crisis centres and adoption agencies are already undertaking across Australia to assist pregnant women. To ignore their work would be a serious omission. Furthermore, if recommended outcomes from this inquiry included making extra abortion centres available to increase abortion access across Australia, then you could expect and request similar funding be made available for crisis pregnancy centres and adoption agencies.
Term of Reference i states:"Any other related matter."
This is an area and opportunity to raise any other concerns you may have with regard to the inquiry.
Points you could consider making
It should be obligatory for health care professionals to present all options with regard to her pregnancy so that a pregnant woman can make a fully informed decision.
This includes pre-decision-making counselling.
No woman cannot make an empowered and controlled decision if she is ignorant about her options.
You may wish to refer to real-life clients, family, and/or friends experiences. Regret after termination due to lack of information at the time of deciding for abortion
- Ignorance of pregnant women about all options and where they can find support
- Assessing the degree of coercion of any sort - only possible through time spent in counselling
- Discovering domestic partner abuse which often goes undetected
- Exposing cultural influences pressuring the woman's choice - maybe by parents or family
- Discovering of the lack of support which the pregnant woman is so often experiencing
- Noting how women resort to abortion, because their partner doesn't want to be a father.
- You may also mention that many 'psycho-social' reasons for choosing abortion are signs of our society's failure to support women who experience unplanned pregnancies.
- Ignorance of medical and health practitioners about where to refer patients for practical and emotional parenting support (i.e. pregnancy support centres)
- You could point to the need for brochures and websites with full information for pregnant women which includes all options. Currently most state government health websites, under unplanned pregnancy, often only include information about access to terminations of pregnancy. This is the case in South Australia.
Implications of the widespread use of medical abortions
This inquiry moved by Senator Waters is aimed by her at a wider distribution of the medical abortion pill. So, you may wish to touch on these points:
- The dangers of taking this medication remotely. Needing to be within easy access to emergency medical care. Check out the requirement for care after a miscarriage and you should find it is only 30 minutes distance from emergency care. Push for it to be the same for medical abortion.
- The psychological dangers of witnessing the loss of the fetus compared to surgical abortion.
- The high risk of the presence of a violent or coercive partner whilst she is vulnerable and alone, who will go undetected.
- The danger of the woman not returning for her follow-up check for complete expulsion. (TGA survey with Marie Stopes showed 17% lost to follow-up, eg not answering phone calls etc.)
- The dangers of women misusing the abortion pill medication. There are numerous articles, particularly from England, of women using the pills incorrectly. Even deaths.
- The devastation of finding out about fetal development only after the abortion. For the woman's wellbeing, an ultrasound viewing must be offered at an early consultation.
Other issues that may wish to raise under the Term i of this inquiry - The need for:
- Adequate record keeping and support services for post abortion negative mental health, especially ongoing psychological impacts. (currently very limited data, SA only records for 3 weeks post termination and after that only if the woman ends up in hospital)
- Access for women without Medicare (migrants, refugees, women on student visas) to appropriate medical services when they choose to keep their babies. e.g. the cost of proceeding with the pregnancy in our healthcare system can make this choice impossible for women.
Please send a copy of your submission to the senators in your State. Download list of senators (PDF) or list of senators (WORD).
Thanks for making your submission.