A POSTAL medical abortion service that allows women to have a termination at home is closing down with fears women will face further barriers if they decide to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
The Tabbot Foundation, named after former prime minister Tony Abbott who once described abortion as “the easy way out” and a “tragedy”, gave women an affordable alternative to surgical abortions by providing the service over the phone.
Rosie*, a married mother living in Mandurah, said the real tragedy was women not being able to access private and affordable options close to home.
“I became pregnant after my birth control failed,” she said.
“I am already so busy with my other kids and simply can’t afford another baby right now.
“I called the Tabbot Foundation after calling GPs in Mandurah asking if they provided the abortion pill.
“None of them did and our local hospital does not provide surgical abortions.”
Rosie* said she was reluctant to visit an abortion clinic due to the presence of pro-life protestors.
“I didn’t want to visit the clinics in Perth due to the intimidating and harassing presence of protesters and because these clinics are more than an hour away.
“The Tabbot Foundation meant I could have an abortion in the privacy of my own home.
“With it closing I worry that women like me will have less options and have to either travel long hours or be confronted by pro-life protesters at a time when they are feeling extremely vulnerable.”
The Tabbot Foundation’s service costs around $250 with a Medicare card and starts when women call a 1800 number and are then referred for an ultrasound and blood test.
Based on these results, the service organises a telephone consultation with a medical professional and then patients are express mailed the abortion pills, antibiotics, analgesics and anti-nausea medicines.
The patient is guided through the abortion process by a registered nurse and a 24-hour on-call doctor.
A blood test 10 days later confirms whether the termination has been successful.
A study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found of the first 1000 women who used the service more than over 95 per cent had an abortion at home with no complications.
The study found the direct-to-patient telemedicine medical abortion service was effective, safe, inexpensive and satisfactory.
It disproportionately served women in parts of Australia with limited access to abortion facilities.
Tabbot Foundation founder Dr Paul Hyland could not be reached for comment.