Sexual & Reproductive Health Newsletter May 2016


Welcome to another Sexual and Reproductive Health newsletter. In recent weeks abortion legislation matters have been widely covered in the media. In this edition we wanted to share articles and resources that explain why access to safe reproductive services is so important for women's broader health and well being. We hope you find it valuable.

We welcome your feedback, contribution and collaboration as we continue to advocate for increased access to sexual and reproductive health services and information across the Grampians region. 

Infant Viability Bill 2015

The Infant Viability Bill 2015 will be debated in the Victorian Legislative Council next week. The Bill attempts to criminalise abortions after 24 weeks, with jail-term penalties for doctors.

Women’s Health Grampians does not support this Bill as we believe it would compromise health professionals ability to offer compassionate and timely treatment options to patients facing already difficult decisions.

Circumstances surrounding abortion after 24 weeks are very complex. Reasons for seeking abortions at this stage often involve factors like intimate partner violence, failure to recognise a pregnancy, illness and congenital abnormality.

In Victoria it is extremely difficult and rare for women to access abortion beyond 16 weeks. Available data indicates less than 1 per cent of all abortions performed in Australia occur after 20 weeks.

Access to abortion is good public health practice and plays an important role in supporting women’s broader health and wellbeing. The ability to access safe reproductive health services has lifelong impacts for women’s ability to participate equally in work, community life, earn income and care for families.

If you are concerned about this bill, you can write a quick letter to the Victorian Premier, The Health Minister and/or your local member of parliament telling them your opinion and why.

Find out more about what the experts have to say on the law and what it means for women and health professionals. 

Relationships & Sexuality Education

Family Planning Victoria is offering professional development workshops at no cost for government schools in the Grampians region. This single round of education opportunities is targeted at Local Government Areas where the populations are most at need of reproductive and sexual health care.

Horsham Wednesday 8 June 9.00am-4.00pm : Teaching Respectful Relationships
Grains Innovation Park, 110 Natimuk Road, HORSHAM
Ararat Thursday 23 June 9.15am-4.00pm : Teaching Contraception and STIs
Ararat Community College, 4-30 Barkly Street, ARARAT

To register, or for further information, contact:
or T/ (03) 9257 0191


Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Safe Access Zone) Bill 2015

Women's Health Grampians welcome the news of safe access zones commencing in Victoria from May 2.

This legislation creates safe access zones of 150 metres outside services providing surgical and/or medical abortions, following similar legislation passed in Tasmania and the ACT in 2015.

"For too long, women accessing abortion services have been unfairly abused and intimidated, and it's time it stopped - that's why we've fast-tracked the introduction of safe access zones so we can give women the protection they deserve, sooner," Health Minister Jill Hennessy said.

"Safe access to reproductive health services, including abortion, is critical for women’s health and gender equality," says Rita Butera, Executive Director of Women’s Health Victoria. "This reform to enable women to access legal health services free of harassment is long overdue".

An article in The Age on May 2 reported Women avoid pro-life protesters for the first time in decades


Abortion isn't on any woman's bucket list | TEDxSouthBank

In this TED Talk Amanda Bradley, a leader in the non-for-profit and public health sector with her work for Children by Choice, challenges us to start a conversation and shift the way we think about contraception and reproductive choice.

Imagine every Australian women has a perfect life. She's had:
Excellent quality sex education;
Uses the most effective form of contraception;
Uses it as perfectly as possible;
For every one of the 520 menstrual cycles;
Over 40 years of her reproductive life;
And only has sex that she freely consent to.

Amanda examines the impact our attitudes towards reproductive health have on equality. Reproduction, pregnancy and abortion are seen as 'women only issues'.

"If we are really going to see equality in our lifetimes, being in control of our own fertility has to be part of the solution." Click here to view the full 15 minute talk

Save YEAH - Australia's only national youth led sexual health education organisation

Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS (YEAH), Australia’s only national youth led sexual health promotion organisation is to be defunded by the Federal Government as of June 30. 

STI rates are rising
Condom use is declining
Over 75% of STIs are occurring amongst young people

Over 7 years YEAH has worked tirelessly in their local communities to improve sexual health knowledge and outcomes amongst their peers, building a highly successful grassroots youth organisation.

They need your support. 

Together we can send a strong message to the Health Minister, and the Federal Government, that youth leadership and empowerment is vital to build and sustain a positive sexual health culture and promotes safe, healthy and respectful relationships in Australia.

Will you sign on? Find out more here

Survey: Medication abortion provision in primary health care

General Practitioners and Practice Nurses from regional and rural Victoria

Deakin University is calling on General Practitioners and Practice Nurses from regional and rural Victoria to participate in a survey aiming to identify the current status of medication abortion provision in the primary health care setting. The aim of this study is to develop a nurse-led collaborative model of care.

The online survey will take 10 minutes to complete and is totally anonymous.
Please click on the link to access this survey

HIV Futures 8: A National survey of people living with HIV

Are you a person living with HIV in Australia and aged over 18 years?

We are keen to hear from all people living with HIV, including gay and bisexual men, women, heterosexual men and transgender people.

This is a survey about health, treatments, work, finances, sex and relationships of people living with HIV. Findings from the survey are used to inform policy related to HIV in Australia and to shape service delivery. HIV Futures is run by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University.

For most people the survey will take between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours to complete


Click here for the survey  or visit


Getting to Know HIV

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Suitable for those who want to gain an introductory knowledge of HIV/AIDS as well as those who may have recently commenced work within the blood borne virus and STI sector.

Live Cross: The Education Resource Centre will be piloting a live cross for our rural and regional workforce Click here to register interest

2016 Australasian Sexual Health Conference - 14-16 November, Adelaide

Abstracts due by: Sunday 29 May for more information click here

Social Research Conference on HIV, Viral Hepatitis & Related Diseases

31 March - 1 April 2016, Melbourne
Read more about conference themes here

Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’s Health and Wellbeing Conference

27 May, Melbourne
VAC and ACON are proud to bring you this one day national conference focusing on the health and wellbeing of lesbian, bisexual and queer women.

Copyright © 2016 Women's Health Grampians, All rights reserved.

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