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  • Safe access to abortion care for SA women during COVID-19

    Author: AAP

New powers passed in state parliament should be used to ensure safe access to abortion care for SA women during COVID-19, the Human Rights Law Centre says.

The South Australian emergency coordinator is being called to use their powers under the COVID-19 bill to allow woman to access abortion without being unnecessarily exposed to the virus.

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New emergency powers were passed in state parliament on Wednesday, making Police Commissioner Grant Stephens the state's emergency coordinator under the COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020.

The Human Rights Law Centre's legal director Adrianne Walters is urging Commissioner Stephens to use his powers to overcome existing legal barriers involved in abortion care and ensure safe access to SA women during the pandemic.

Laws in all other Australian states allow women to access telehealth services for early abortion care.

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Ms Walter said telehealth was supported by medical professionals and SA women should be able to have the same access.

"The State Coordinator should use his powers to override medically unnecessary outdated legal barriers," Ms Walters said.

"In particular, the requirements for an abortion to take place in a prescribed hospital, for two doctors to be involved and for a woman to have resided in SA for two months.

"South Australia's outdated abortion laws force many women to travel long distances and interact with more health professionals than is medically needed."

The permanent reform of the state's criminal abortion laws is due to come before state parliament with Attorney General Vickie Chapman committing to introducing a Bill this year.

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