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Joint Statement on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

June 2022

Access to safe, legal and effective abortion is at the very core of women’s autonomy and freedom.

The Women’s Legal Centre ACT and Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT are united in their commitment to protect the rights of women and all people to control their own bodies and to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health without threat or coercion.

The Supreme Court of the United States’ decision to strike down the legal precedent that protected the right to choose to have an abortion in the United States is a major setback for the protection of these rights.

This decision will reverberate through the lives of women and their families in the USA. Already we see the burden will fall most heavily on poor women of colour who continue to experience significant disadvantage.

This decision will also reverberate internationally. The decision is a reminder that we can never take the protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights for granted, even when this has been well established.

The right to decide the number, spacing and timing of your children and the right to access safe, legal and effective abortion are grounded in international human rights law.

Here in the ACT, the right to access safe, legal and effective abortion is also protected by law.

However, laws are only as strong as their implementation. In the ACT, access to abortion is still impeded by availability, cost and other social and cultural factors.

Laws are also only as strong as our collective will.

We should all be looking for every opportunity to state our support for the legal protections that exist here in the ACT and our solidarity with women and people all over the world that are fighting for these fundamental freedoms.