I hadn’t ever been to Queensland when my more adventurous friends returned from their “up north treks” to tell of sun, surf, four X and reproductive rights suppression.
Back then the only clinic in the whole state was in Brisbane. Even this one surgical termination service in Brisbane was barely tolerated by the government. If you lived in a remote part of the state or you were poor- too bad.
I remember as an urban, Melbourne girl being so outraged by this. We took it for granted that a woman had a right to choose. My mother and her generation fought for those rights and I thank them. When my tanned friends told of news they had heard around feminist circles up there in the sunshine state that the Queensland government was planning to force all females of child-bearing age to have a pregnancy test before they were allowed to hop on the bus to travel south to NSW, I was incredulous. That story (true or not) was a radicalising point for me. I had supported enough of my friends through an unwanted pregnancy to know how real their fear and terror was of having to make a choice either way. I was not going to be quiet.
Now, some 25 years later, tucked away in an office in Cairns, as the result of a conscience vote, we have Professor Caroline De Costa leading the way in reproductive choice for women. Next month 40 RU486 pills we be landing in Australia. 40 women, supported by their medical practitioner, will have a greater choice when accessing a termination of pregnancy.
For those that don’t know- Cairns is in Far North Queensland.
“This [the use of RU486] is something that women want and it is a matter between us and our patients and nobody else.” -Professor de Costa.
Image from here