The US Supreme Court decision to overturn a landmark abortion ruling is a reminder Australians must remain vigilant, the federal minister for women says.
Katy Gallagher said the ruling to overturn the Roe v Wade decision – which gave women the federal right to access abortion services – was a devastating and served as a warning.
“Hard-fought-for wins before our parliaments can be taken away easily,” she told ABC RN on Monday.
“I think vigilance is the message to make sure that women in Australia have access to safe and legal abortion and that matter is resolved between her and her medical practitioner.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the decision was a setback for women and their right to control their own bodies.
“People are entitled to their own views, but not to impose their views on women for whom this is a deeply personal decision,” he told ABC’s AM.
“This decision has caused enormous distress.
“It is a good thing that in Australia, this is not a matter for partisan political debate.”
Every state and territory in Australia has legislation to provide women with access to safe and legal termination of pregnancy and abortion services.
But more needs to be done to ensure access is equal across the country, Senator Gallagher acknowledged.
“It’s costly and it’s an added burden. It’s a challenge across the board to make sure people living in rural and remote Australia get access to the healthcare services they need,” she told Sky News.
However, Nationals leader David Littleproud wants more women to consider adoption over abortion.
The Queensland MP, whose older brother is adopted, said he is “leaning more on the pro-life side with caveats around the circumstance of pregnancy”.
“There are circumstances where we need to think about the mother‘s well being as well as the circumstances in which that pregnancy, particularly in abhorrent cases like rape and incest, that we need to just use a little bit of common sense,” he told Sky News.
“You can’t get too pure in this.
“But I just encourage as many people as possible to take the adoption route.”