Abortion Provider Marie Stopes Closes 4 Regional Australian Clinics

By Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia, with a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him at caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au
June 18, 2021 Updated: June 22, 2021

Abortion provider Marie Stopes has announced that it will close four of its regional clinics in Queensland and New South Wales due to financial issues brought on by the CCP virus pandemic.

This comes about a week before Queensland MP George Christensen is due to present his private member’s bill to Parliament on June 21, which would make it illegal for healthcare workers not to provide life-saving treatment to babies that survive abortions.

“It is with great sadness that we’ve had to take the decision to close our regional clinics in Rockhampton, Townsville, Southport and Newcastle in August,” Marie Stopes said in a statement on June 17.

“We fought long and hard alongside our passionate and dedicated staff and our supporters to keep these clinics open, but as a result of COVID-19 and the cost of running these clinics in regional areas, we can no longer do it.”

The abortion provider’s financial duress comes despite the Queensland Government providing $413,000 in financial support to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was on top of the $1.65 million it received for Jan. 1, 2020, through to Dec. 21, 2022.

Marie Stopes is an international non-profit abortion, vasectomy, and contraception provider which offers reduced cost and free services on a needs basis to women and men.

The closure of four regional Australian clinics means that people in those areas seeking an abortion will need to travel to metropolitan cities to access legal abortion services.

Epoch Times Photo
(L-R) George Christensen with fellow speakers Sen. Amanda Stoker, Queensland state MP Dr Mark Robinson, Martyn Iles of the ACL, Teeshan Johnson of Cherish Life, and Senator Matt Canavan at the March for Life rally in Brisbane, Australia, on May 8, 2021. (Adrian Wedderburn)

Teeshan Johnson from Cherish Life, a Queensland pro-life advocacy organisation, said the closure of the four Marie Stopes clinics was bittersweet because the abortion rate had sharply increased since the Queensland government passed new legislation in 2018.

The Queensland government passed legislation, which came into effect on Dec. 3, 2018, to ensure the termination of pregnancies was “treated as a health issue rather than a criminal issue.”

“In fact, almost 10,000 more babies were killed in the subsequent year,” Johnson told The Epoch Times.

Federal figures back up Johnson’s claim, revealing that in the year after Queensland changed its laws, the PBS and RPBS recorded 17,087 medical abortions by prescribed drugs were processed. That was 9,641 more than the previous year in 2018.

However, earlier this year, Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath told the state’s Parliament that there had been fewer abortions in 2019.

“In relation to the statistics about the number of terminations in the public and private sector, I can advise that in 2019 there were 9,496 terminations,” D’Ath said on March 10 (pdf).

She added: “This is a lower number, and it has been decreasing since 2013. In 2013, we saw over 12,000 terminations. There were over 11,000 in 2014, 10,800 in 2015, over 10,400 in 2016, and now we see numbers in the 9,000s.

“That shows that the passing of this legislation has not led to an increase in the number of terminations,” she said.

Whereas figures from the federal government, which Cherish Life published on their site, showed there had in fact been a 58 percent increase in total abortions in 2019, the year after Queensland changed the law.

The figures in the 9,000s related only to surgical abortions but did not include the larger number of medical abortions.

Johnson also noted that the procedure should not be classified as “family planning” or “healthcare”—arguing that “abortion isn’t ‘healthcare’—it’s killing.”

“The primary intention of a doctor should never be to kill a human being,” she said.

In her view, there are only rare exceptions when abortions are not considered killing, such as when a baby dies during life-saving interventions that are needed to save the mother’s life.

“An example would be where a pregnant woman is diagnosed with an aggressive cancer of the womb and has to get a hysterectomy to save her own life, and her 19-week-old baby is delivered via C-section during the procedure but dies because it is so young,” she said. “In this example, it’s clear the intention was never to kill the baby but to save a life.”

However, the Queensland Health Minister has said that women get terminations for a whole lot of complex reasons.

“No-one should try to put themselves in the shoes of a woman who has to make that very difficult decision,” D’Ath said. “That is a personal decision that that woman has to make—sometimes that young girl has to make—and we should respect that right and make sure we continue to provide whatever support we possibly can.”

Meanwhile, Children by Choice CEO Daile Kelleher told the ABC that she was concerned the closure of the Marie Stopes clinics would result in people making rushed decisions or finding themselves unable to travel.

“It will mean hundreds of kilometres having to travel potentially to Cairns or Brisbane unless there is some sort of public provision through the hospital system within the regions which we know can be sporadic and certainly isn’t offered everywhere,” she said.

“We already know that regional Queenslanders face so many barriers to accessing healthcare.”

MP to Present Born Alive Bill to Parliament

On June 21, Liberal MP George Christensen will present his Born Alive private member’s bill to the federal Parliament, which, if passed, would mandate that life-saving medical care be given to viable babies born alive in an abortion.

Under current state laws in Queensland, Victoria, the ACT, Tasmania, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia, all such babies born alive during abortions are left to die.

Epoch Times Photo
MP George Christensen at the Cherish Life 50th anniversary dinner in Brisbane, Australia on Nov. 27, 2020. (Cherish Life)

“The additions to the Bill are a new reporting requirement for medical practitioners to report children born alive as a result of abortion within seven days,” Christensen said in a press release.

“The other change is to underscore the false notion that the Bill would require medical practitioners to provide life-saving treatments to non-viable babies.

“It does this by stating that the care or treatment provided would be commensurate to the circumstances and could include palliative care,” he said.

The bill also makes it an offence not to provide life-saving treatment with punishment and penalties higher than $400,000 for health practitioners and higher for corporations.

Health practitioners who breach the proposed law may also be deregistered.

Christensen said he was calling on his Parliamentary colleagues to ask themselves the question ‘What happens to a child born alive during a late-term abortion?’

“The uncomfortable truth is that the child is left to die,” he said.

Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia, with a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him at caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au