STAFF and supporters of Newcastle's Marie Stopes clinic are pushing for the doors to remain open.
In an open letter to the NSW State Government, the clinic's eight members of staff have called for a direct grant so that Marie Stopes can continue to offer medical and surgical abortions. .
"Now that abortion has been successfully moved from the criminal code in NSW to be considered a health matter, it should be funded in the same method that other essential health services are," the letter says.
Around 25 to 30 per cent of Australian women will access an abortion during their lifetime, and a long-term funding solution is required to enable abortion services in the region to remain safe, affordable and accessible, it said.
Marie Stopes Australia announced in June it would be closing the Broadmeadow clinic in August alongside clinics in Rockhampton, Townsville and Southport. The provider has said it is unable to meet new lease terms at the Broadmeadow clinic, or cover anticipated future costs associated with accreditation, standard and regulation, but it would continue to offer telehealth services.
A Hunter New England Health statement issued on Thursday said the privately-run Gynaecology Centres Australia Clinic in Broadmeadow continues to offer medical and surgical terminations, while the Newcastle Clinic of Family Planning NSW also provides medical terminations.
"Public health facilities perform pregnancy terminations for women with the most complex medical needs or advanced pregnancy," it said.
More than 6,500 people have signed a petition to keep the Marie Stopes Clinic open, calling on the Health Minister, local members and Marie Stopes management to find a way to ensure its viability.
Marie Stopes Australia Medical Director Philip Goldstone said negotiations were continuing. 'We're fiercely committed to abortion care and we're talking with the NSW Government and the local hospital to get a clear sense of the options for women and pregnant people in Newcastle who choose an abortion," he said.
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