Family Planning Victoria reinforces equal access to reproductive healthcare this IWD following Religious Discrimination Bill Submission

MEDIA RELEASE | Friday 6 March 2020 | International Women's Day

This International Women’s Day, Family Planning Victoria has urged health providers to commit to equal access to abortion, contraception and sexual healthcare for all women and gender diverse people amid fears the Religious Discrimination Bill will prioritise religious belief over healthcare.

Family Planning Victoria is among almost 7000 organisations and individuals who made formal submissions to the Federal Government, which voiced concerns over the Second Exposure Draft of the Bill. Family Planning Victoria’s submission said the Bill would:

  • constrain the effectiveness of sexual and reproductive health services in Victoria;
  • impede providers’ capacity to ensure all people have access to sexual health clinical care and relevant information; and
  • result in groups of Victorians being discriminated against in relation to sexual and reproductive health care access, information, treatment, education and rights

The 2020 International Women’s Day themes celebrate #EachforEqual and #GenerationEquality, with the United Nations calling on all people to recognise that individual actions and conversations can have a collective impact on gender equality.

“In order to achieve gender equality, women, girls and gender diverse people need to be empowered and provided with equal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare safely and without fear of discrimination or harm,” Family Planning Victoria CEO Claire Vissenga said.

Ms Vissenga said, “IWD is an important day to recognise gender equality’s importance, but efforts must be kept up all year. Sexual and reproductive health care is a fundamental cornerstone of gender equality and efforts to ensure all people have access to it must be maintained.”

With a history spanning over 50 years, Family Planning Victoria is the state’s leading provider of sexual and reproductive health care, education and advocacy. Their clinics offer long acting reversible contraception, medication abortion, cervical screening and STI testing. They also offer comprehensive, inclusive relationship and sexuality education across Victoria, and education to healthcare professionals and community workers.

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For media enquiries relating to this media release, please contact Claire Vissenga, CEO, Family Planning Victoria on T/ 03 9257 0100 or at E/