AUSTRALIA'S only nationally accredited abortion provider will close its Broadmeadow clinic in August.
Marie Stopes Australia on Thursday confirmed it would close the Broadmeadow clinic in August alongside clinics in Rockhampton, Townsville and Southport.
The Hunter clinic, on Lambton Road, provides "a full-range of services that complement abortion, such as post-abortion contraception, decision-based counselling and 24/7 aftercare" for both medical and surgical abortions.
The closures will leave clinics only in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth.
Charlestown MP and NSW Shadow Minister for Women Jodie Harrison said the clinic's closure was a "real concern" for Hunter women's ability access health care services.
"NSW finally legally recognised abortion as a health issue rather than a criminal act a year and a half ago and since that time there has been no funding from health to provide equitable access for women across the state," Ms Harrison said.
"This simply has to change."
Marie Stopes said the "difficult decisions" were part of the changing needs of clients in the wake of the pandemic and they would explore new ways of delivering regional care.
"Physical clinics in regional areas are no longer financially viable," the provider said in a statement.
"Marie Stopes has made this difficult decision after significant COVID financial losses and ongoing challenges in providing regional healthcare.
"While many health organisations struggle to provide services in regional centres, it's even more difficult for Marie Stopes to find skilled medical staff willing to provide abortion care."
The provider said it was unable to meet new lease terms or cover anticipated future costs associated with accreditation, standard and regulation.
Bookings will continue until the end of July. Women and pregnant people will be directed to hospitals to ensure access to safe abortions.
Marie Stopes will continue to provide telehealth, and said it plans to consult the 49 staff across the four clinics who will be affected.
Managing director Jamal Hakim called the news a "tough decision".
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"We fought long and hard with many of our supporters for these clinics and our staff are absolutely committed, but we just can't make these clinics work financially so we're going work with government and partners to continue to ensure safe abortion care is available to all, because abortion is a fundamental human right in a modern democracy," Mr Hakim said.
"The health environment is also changing as people want to be in charge of their own health, making their own informed decisions, wanting more virtual care, so we need to change too."
'We're fiercely committed to abortion care but before we announce our new plan to meet these challenges, we're taking this moment to grieve with our passionate staff and supporters."
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