Lobbying and Advocacy

The Bessie Smyth Foundation, in partnership with many sister organisations, has maintained an interest in the political processes so to be a part of ensuring that attacks against access to abortion are defeated. Our lobbying has been undertaken in several ways: submission writing to government inquiries; participating in rallies to support a woman’s right to choose abortion; letter writing and so on. The Bessie Smyth Foundation has also maintained an interest in the broader picture of women’s health and supported other campaigns around women’s health (such as for better contraception; for better communication between health practitioners and women; for more services for women; for better pay for women; and so on).

Our advocacy has two components:

(a) Statewide or national
By advocating to governments (Federal and State) via submissions and participation in meetings on behalf of women – we present arguments in support of better quality of care within abortion services, for better quality of care within emergency departments of public hospitals for the small number of women who may present with a complication from a termination of pregnancy, for brokerage funds to be made available to organisations such as The Bessie Smyth Foundation and women’s health centres so to assist low-income and disadvantaged women access abortion and appropriate counselling.

(b) Individual
By advocating to individual abortion providers on the following matters:

  • on behalf of low-income and disadvantaged women for reduced fees or the opportunity to pay for their operation by an instalment plan;

  • foetal products (some women prefer to at least see their foetal products at the time of the operation or some prefer to take them home for a burial – whilst this is not a high-demand request, for those women for whom it is important it causes greater psychological aftermath to deny their request than to meet it)

  • if a woman prefers an all-female team in surgery;

  • assisting a woman having her specific needs met.

With particular reference to the issue of General Practitioner shortages and their impact on women’s ability to access safe, affordable and appropriate abortion services in a timely manner.