from Senator Hanson-Young
Item 16525 in Part 3 of
Schedule 1 to the Health Insurance (General Medical Services Table) Regulations
2007 currently provides a Medicare rebate of $267 to a Medical practitioner for
the “Management of second trimester labour, with or without induction, for
intrauterine fetal death, gross fetal abnormality or life threatening maternal
We support measures to
ensure that all women have the right to access legal, free and safe pregnancy termination
services. By making the Medicare funding unavailable for second trimester
terminations, this motion could result in an increase
in terminations later in pregnancy due to the financial burden
it consequently places on women.
It is for this reason,
that we do not support any moves to disallow Medicare Item 16525, or any other
like Item number.
We are concerned that the
result of disallowing this specific Medicare Item number will not only affect
women from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, but also women from rural
and regional areas. It could also delay women accessing terminations until later
in pregnancy, after being forced to find additional monies to cover
the gap, as well as the original fee.
The diagnosis and
confirmation of fetal abnormality or serious illness in
pregnancy is a difficult and very stressful time for women and
their families. Removing Medicare item 16525 would place a
great financial burden on top of the huge emotional burden of
deciding whether or not continue with a pregnancy following a devastating
medical diagnosis. All pregnant women should have access to Medicare
funded treatment, regardless of the circumstances of their pregnancy.
While we recognise that
people have strong and differing opinions on this issue, and respect the right
of all Australian’s to express their views, this is not a debate about the
legality of abortion, but rather a debate about accessibility and cost.
While this inquiry was not
investigating the legalities of abortion as a whole, the purpose of
pursuing the disallowance of Item 16525 effectively prevents women from
accessing second trimester terminations (depending on State and Territory
legislation), by making it almost unaffordable for the average woman to even
Much misinformation was
circulated around the use of Item No. 16525, during the course of the inquiry, contrary
to some recent published comments this item number is not currently used by medical practitioners in private stand
alone clinics for the provision of surgical termination of pregnancy in
the second trimester.
Second trimester medical
termination for fetal abnormality over 20 weeks gestation is generally heavily
regulated via legal restrictions, hospital review panels and committees, along with
doctors working in team consultation with their colleagues. So if the aim
of this motion is to prevent terminations after 20 weeks, it seems entirely
unwarranted. More specifically when looking at the statistics, is
estimated that in Australia around 94% of terminations occur in
the first trimester, with only 0.7% occurring at 20 weeks or later.
Too often we have seen
legislators in this place find it impossible to avoid interfering in women’s
reproductive health rights. Women have fought long and hard to
be able to make decisions about their health and wellbeing, and we will not be
supporting any attempt to turn back the clock on women’s reproductive rights.
Disallowance of Medicare
Item Number 16525, or any related Item Number should not proceed.
Senator for South Australia
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page