‘Vigilant’ message from US abortion ruling

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The US Supreme Court’s overturning of a landmark abortion decision is a reminder that people need to be vigilant in protecting their freedoms, Australia’s minister for women says.

The ruling against the 50-year-old Roe v Wade decision, which guaranteed the constitutional right to an abortion, is devastating for many women but shows the importance of protecting fundamental rights, Katy Gallagher says.

“Hard-fought-for wins before our parliaments can be taken away easily,” she told ABC radio on Monday.

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“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 in the US.

While people were entitled to their own views on abortion, they were not entitled to impose their views on women who made that decision, Mr Albanese said.

“That is, in my view, one for an individual woman to make based upon their own circumstances, including the health implications,” he told ABC radio.

“It is a good thing that in Australia this is not a matter for partisan 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 must be done to ensure women living in regional Australia had the same access as those in the cities, Senator Gallagher said.

“It is a challenge. Many of the termination services are located in major cities and that does require travel for women at a stressful point in time,” she told Sky News.

“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.”

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